Thespian and art director Rimli Roy is gearing up for Ramaavan
Kolkata-born and US-based thespian Rimli Roy envisioned the epic Ramayana in a different way. Her ever-evolving Broadway musical, Ramaavan, is a melting pot of cultures as it incorporates actors and dancers from various ethnic backgrounds. It also redefines the characters in the epic and gives a unique theatrical experience by incorporating traditional Indian dance and music, Opera, Broadway, poetry, ballet, jazz, hip-hop and a few other modern techniques.
Trained in Indian classical dance, Roy who hails from a family of distinguished artistes brings the latest production to India, scheduled to be performed in New Delhi later this year. She tells us, “Though based on Ramayana, Ramaavan is very different from the original epic. We take a different look at each of the characters whether it’s Ram and Sita or Raavan and Surpanakha. Also, the multicultural thread runs high in this Broadway musical. Once we had an Italian actor playing Ram and a Croat playing Lakshman. We also address gender and race issues apart from highlighting women warriors. This year the main characters are from the US with an elaborate setting and cast.”
The 90-minute production will have actors from India too and Roy, who came down to Kolkata earlier this year to conduct auditions, had to switch to the online medium. “Though watching a live performance has a different thrill, we have had to start thinking outside the box to make the virtual space more exciting. This pandemic is teaching artistes to be more tech-savvy. We have plans to create more programmes for the virtual audience,” she adds.
Other than Ramaavan, there are two projects that are keeping Roy busy. The first one is I Am Covid where COVID-19 is the protagonist and it would be for stage and digital, and the other is an Indian mythological mega-production. “It’s a love story promoting world peace that includes solar energy — a science meets the art production,” she signs off.