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
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!
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
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
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