Feb 14, 2003
LA Weekly Theater Review / Pick Of The Week : Ramayana 2K3
Theater / Pick Of The Week : Ramayana 2K3
no, not again! The evil Ravana (Will Watkins), King of Lanka and lord
of the demonic Rakshasas, has pillaged heaven. Only Lord Vishnu (Rich
Welmers), the Hindu god of preservation, can do much about it, and heís
taking a nap. To make a long myth short, Vishnu wakes up for enough
time to incarnate himself and his goddess mate back to Earth, where
they become Rama and his wife, Sita (the stunningly beautiful Anahata).
In the banishment of a forest, they challenge Ravana with an army of
monkeys. Writer-director Robert A. Priorís Fabulous Monsters expand on
their old tricks of lavish costumes (by Prior), shadow puppets, Stephen
Hues swaying, callisthenic choreography and actors arriving from ceiling
beams and slithering down ropes to enact Valmikiís 2,000-year-old poem,
accompanied by Rara Avis's Eoriginal electronic music among other musical
selections. The result is a cross between Star Wars and a rave. Almost
none of the actors speaks dialogue, for each has a voice-over, rendering
everyone a kind of puppet. In case you donít grasp whatís happening, the
legend is told by two miked actors (Tim Ottoman and Alexan dra Saalik).
They sum up plot turns, each of which is a mere excuse for another dance
extravaganza. The energy and design are beyond reproach, though the
effect does become somewhat redundant, probably because theyíve crammed
into two and a half hours what could have fit in 90 minutes. Still,
you wonít find anything else in town quite like it.