As part of Leicester’s Diwali day revelries, Phizzical Productions created an outdoor dance performance incorporating a visual arts experience celebrating the arrival of Rama, Sita and Lakshman.
The Diwali day celebration is based on the Ram Lila and features a specially designed Pushpaka Vimana, the first mention of a flying chariot in the Indian sacred scriptures. Choreographed by Subhash Viman, the performance looks at the psychology of the citizens as they anticipate the arrival of Rama, Sita and Lakshman. Their arrival leads to a breath of silence as the citizens finally glance upon the beloved trio. The rapturous celebration begins after Rama’s coronation.
A fusion of eastern and cinematic music has been arranged by Leicester based emerging composer Devesh Sodha. Live instrumentations by Rishii Chowdhury on tabla and Akash Parekar on sitar are accompanied by Dr Samyami Chowdhury-Sarma singing verses from the Veda, curated by priest Shreeman Hemang Bhatt. It is a marriage of traditional forms with contemporary imagination. The composer and musicians were part of Phizzical’s Youth Music programme developing new music leadership.
The design of the Pushpaka Vimana is influenced Sita’s rings, bangles and jewellery that dropped from the sky in her attempt to leave a trail for Rama. They also represent the seven upper heavens, the seventh avatar of Mahavishnu and the seven kandas (books) that form the Ramayana.
The Pushpaka Vimana will be adorned with LED lights programmed to dance in tandem with a coterie of dancers and live musicians in a 15-minutes looping sequence. The themes from Ram Lila will embrace today’s technology in the finale. Leicester’s citizens will have an opportunity to take a ‘selfie’ with performers who are dressed as Rama, Sita and Lakshman, sharing this unique memory world-wide.
The Pushpaka Vimana structure has been designed by Olly Shapley with special effects and lighting designed by Chris Cuthbert from Acquismedia.
Samir Bhamra, the director of Ram Lila says, “A new generation of artists are being given an opportunity to explore creative ways to excite the large audiences expecting to be entertained and educated. Our performance is merely a glimpse of how one can be inspired from the stories and visuals that feature in the Ramayana to create something fresh. It is an experiment to see what could be possible in the future. Phizzical would love to put together a full length theatrical production combining adventurous storytelling with music and dance that enables a young people to discover this epic story of good vs evil.”
“All the very best to the team and young musicians from Phizzical Productions for their performance as part of Diwali day on Wednesday. What a great opportunity this project has been for young musicians in challenging circumstances to develop their leadership skills and create new work to perform in a large-scale multi-art form event. No doubt this will lead to further opportunities for them in the future as they further develop their skills and experience in music.” Matt Griffiths, CEO, Youth Music
Phizzical is supported by Leicester City Council, Youth Music and Arts Council England.