Special Feature

Screening of Anjaneyam- Hanuman’s Ramayana by Esplanade Theatres in collaboration with SISTIC Live From May 24th – 31st, Anjaneyam- Hanuman’s Ramayana, one of the master-piece ensemble productions from 2017 produced by Apsaras Arts was invited to be part of a showcase series by the Esplanade Theatres by the Bay and SISTIC (the largest ticketing platform) for a week long live web streaming. Here is a digest of this memorable week and multiple dialogues that were hosted on social media channels with the Artistic Director, choreographer, set and costume designer to understand the creative process behind this epic production. Apsaras Arts was invited to be part of a joint showcase by Singapore’s Esplanade, Theatres by the Bay and SISTIC (largest ticketing platform in Singapore) for a Live web streaming. The showcases included 3 locally created productions from a diversity of cultures- Chinese, Malay and Indian genres. The production, Anjaneyam – Hanuman’s Ramayana which premiered for November 2017 as part of Esplanade’s annual Kala Utsavam Festival was selected to be a part of this inaugural prestigious feature.

Over 8 days, a substantial number of tickets were sold to audiences from Singapore and overseas to watch the entire production from the comfort of their homes. Patrons could avail these tickets at no cost or offer to pay a nominal donation which was presented to support Apsaras Arts during this pandemic. There has also been encouragement for this production in receiving greater international visibility. Digital outreach is the new-normal as arts companies engage with global viewers in times of Covid19. In the course of the week, reflective conversations on the production were organised to provide deeper insights on its creative process. Esplanade hosted a talk on 30 May, where Aravinth Kumarasamy, Artistic Director of this production spoke at length on how this staging was made possible and the long-standing relationship Apsaras Arts has created in collaboration with Esplanade Theatres over the past 15 years showcasing many innovative works. Rajeshwari Ramachandran, Producer Esplanade, said, “It’s a lot of hard work and we are proud of our collaborations with Apsaras Arts with you (Aravinth) and, Mami (late Smt Neila Satyalingam). Our relationship is so precious and these works are so valuable for the company and we appreciate how it has been performed and received in Singapore and staged to audiences all over the world.”https://www.facebook.com/EsplanadeSG/videos/567014130671300 On16th May, @Samarpanafortheartsandwellbeing Instagram channel hosted a dialogue on The Making of “Anjaneya, Hanuman’s Ramayana” by Aravinth Kumaraswamy, Artistic Director interviewed by Chitra Sundaram, Dance-theatre performer, lecturer, dramaturg from London, UK. This hour-long session included a highly interactive audience who posted questions on the creative process for this epic production. Chitra Sundaram posed candid questions on the making of the mega-production covering the genesis of the idea, the text references and how the story culminated into a script. She also asked about the theatrical techniques employed and how Bharatanatyam collaborated with Javanese dance. They shared many interesting anecdotes about bringing legendary dancers VP Dhanajayan and C K Balagopalan who played roles of sage Valmiki and the aged Hanuman respectively. She also asked Aravinth to share what it was like working with the Esplanade Theatre, a much sort-after venue in Singapore. If you are interested in the creative process of a production, don’t miss this insightful conversation. Link: https://youtu.be/lUm2rZOGl80 On 30th May another conversation, “Aahaaryam” was hosted by Akhila Krishnamurthy of Aalaap Concepts featuring Aravinth Kumaraswamy and Mohanapriyan Thavarajah on the design of the elaborate sets and costumes in the Anjaneyam production. In this talk, interspersed with scenes from the production fuelled an interactive Q&A and a comprehensive slide presentation displayed the vision and inspiration behind each design used in this production. Inspirations from Javanese batik, the Balinese representations of the Ramayana using elaborate head-gear, thematic jewellery for King Dasharatha’s Queens and the Apsaras from Sri Lanka, block printing designs from Javanese woodcarvings, recreated an authentic scene with the grandeur enhanced by digitalised paintings as back drop.


For information on Anjaneyam, behind the production. Link: https://www.facebook.com/hanumansramayana

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