Ramayana puppet show from Prague performed in Sydney

By : Mohan Vijayraghavan.

Lenka and Eric who are puppeteers from Prague, performed a Puppet Show at Hindu Council of Australia’s Deepavali festival held at Parramatta on 4th November 2018.

Lenka and myself are associated for about 8 years now and have done some shows in Hindu education camps and at the Powerhouse museum but mostly along the lines of European stories since her dolls are all only those types.

Lenka and Eric producers of the Ramanyana Puppet Show

However, making a puppet show for Ramayan was a special challange as she had to make special puppets of animal forms like monkey, deer and dragon as well 1 ten headed Ravana and Bows and Arrows. To help understand the story and characters of Ramayana, Lenka made multiple trips to my house to discuss the scenes and plan and stayed the entire day from 9am until past 11pm to pick up her stuff. It was a labour of love for both of us and Lenka charged only a token amount for providing her services.
I told her she had given so much to our community and this token of money was nothing to show the worth of the program but this show has given me confidence to take it to more children in future across Australia to promote Indian stories.

Children watching the Puppet Show

Mohan and Kavita both associated with Hindu scripture classes at Holsworthy Primary school with the help of Viji wrote the Ramayana story line suitable for a puppet show. All the background and other supporting paintings/drawings and props  (around 20) were sourced out to disabled people from Chennai, India.
On being given a go ahead by Hindu Council, Lenka and myself started doing the ground work and preparing the dolls and drawings. We had few sessions discussing the end-to-end process covering from the birth of Ram until his coronation and came out which scenes we will use puppets and which ones we will talk by showing the drawings so while narrating the story, the puppeteers have enough time to change the scene.
Following key scenes from Ramayana were played by the puppets showing the entire life of adult Rama.
  1. Breaking of bow and Ram/Sita and his brothers marriage
  2. Mantra poisoning the mid of kaikeyi and asking Rama t as o be sent to forest.
  3. Ram,Sita,Lakshmana leaving Ayodhya in chariot drawn by Sumantra.
  4.  Sita asking Rama to catch the deer and Rama going and shooting Maricha (deer)
  5. Sita asking Lakshmana to go and look for Ram
  6. Ravana coming and kidnapping Sita and flying in Pushpak viman.
  7. Jatayu trying to save by fighting with Ravana and falling down dead
  8. Ram and Lakshman meeting Jatayu and hearing the story.
  9. Ram,Lakshman meeting Hanuman
  10. Fight between Vali and Sugriva and Vali getting killed. (in this scene we gave a bow to boys in the audience and made them shoot vali)
  11. Hanuman flying over the ocean, encountering the dragon.
  12. Hanuman meeting Sita in Ashoka vanam.
  13. Hanuman flying back and narrating story to Rama.
  14. Rama and Ravana fight (even here boys were given bow to shoot Ravana and pretend they are Rama)
  15. Returning to Ayodhya and Rama’s coronation.
The other scenes from Rama’s birth were narrated to the audience, giving  sufficient time to change to the puppeteers to change the scenes.
We did one show at 3pm and then another one at 6pm. But it was such a roaring success that, literally we were dragged to do the third one around 7pm and even after that people came sitting and asking when is the next show. By 7.30 we had to close the shop.
Those who came really liked it and commented that they had not seen this before.

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