gmhTODAY 30 gmhTODAY April June 2020s - Page 72

Scott Lynch THEATER scene Scott Lynch has been involved in local community theater for over 10 years and has performed with SVCT & Limelight. He lives in Gil- roy, attended Gilroy schools, and graduated from Stanford University with BS and MS degrees in Industrial Engineering. He is currently the president of South Valley Civic Theatre. Mount Madonna School RAMAYANA! There is a dragon in our midst! And monkeys! And bears and vul- tures! And demons and monsters! All are preparing to descend from their mountain enclave to inhabit our hearts, minds, and souls as they tell the story of Ramayana! (‘ruh’’MY’’uh’’nuh’). I t has been several years since I first saw Mount Madonna School’s presentation of Ramayana!, the epic story from ancient India of Prince Ram and his wife Princess Sita. A good friend, who knows my interest in theater, invited me to witness this incredible spectacle and arranged for a special VIP pre-show tour. I arrived at the Mexican Heritage Theater in San Jose early enough to allow time for my tour, which began backstage. There, I scooted around a twenty-five foot dragon puppet with radio-controlled mechanical mouth and eyes. Then I was led into a back hallway to the dressing rooms, which were empty except for a selection of headpieces ready to be donned by cast members. I had been told that the entire 175-member student body, rang- ing from Pre-K to high school seniors, would be appearing onstage. I won- dered where so many young actors, not to mention their 400 costumes, could be hiding. 72 Stepping through the side stage door was like leaving Dorothy’s house and entering Munchkin Land. There was a flurry of activity and fleeting spots of color. I realized that I was in a walled- in courtyard. It was filled with children and teens, laughing and playing, some in costumes, others waiting to be fitted by one of the many back-stage parents and community volunteers. Beyond the courtyard was the pavilion, a place for cast members to dress and have their makeup applied. Tables filled the room and children surrounded them in various stages of preparation. As curtain time approached, the entire cast gathered in the courtyard with their Director, Sampad Martin Kachuck. Sampad, who has directed Ramayana! for 38 of its 42 years, quickly captured the kids’ attention. After some brief words, they all joined in a buzzing meditation that filled the courtyard and sounded like the low hum of a beehive. Every child participated and respectfully focused GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN SPRING 2020 on the impending curtain rise, the part they would play, and the community of which they were members. This all was just the “pre-spectacle.” From the courtyard, I was escorted to my seat with just a few minutes to spare before the grand spectacle began. For the next 90 minutes, I sat mesmer- ized by choreographed dances and fight scenes, intrigued by an immense mov- ing dragon, fascinated by a ten-headed king, and enthralled by beautiful and colorful costumes made from authentic Indian fabrics. Children playing jungle creatures and forest animals, kings, queens, and sorcerers, monkeys, mon- sters, and bears, filled the stage, tell- ing the story through dialogue, song, and dance. All of these elements were accompanied by music ranging from traditional to contemporary. As the story concluded, the audience shared its appreciation through ovation. The impression of all I experienced has lasted to this day. Ramayana! caused me to reflect not only on what I witnessed