In lieu of a live stage production this year, scenes from the story have been filmed and Ramayana! The Movie will soon be available to view online (pay-per-view)! Local screenings may be offered later this summer. Sign up at the bottom of the page to be notified about viewing and screening options.
Amid a pandemic year when live stage shows everywhere were prohibited, Mount Madonna School (MMS) reenvisioned its performing arts, and distinctive, annual theatrical production of an ancient Hindu epic to create a movie version, offering its preschool to high school students who comprise the show’s cast an innovative and unique performance opportunity.
Utilizing the 375-acre campus that encompasses MMS and Mount Madonna Center (MMC) to film the story’s scenes, the collaborative team of director Gitanjali Lori Rivera, musical director Anand Darsie, visionary filmmaker Devin Kumar (’06) and producer Jeevani Vince, have crafted a beautiful, dazzling musical feast, with striking attention to nuance and detail.
See MMS and MMC as you never have before: with costumed monkeys frolicking in the trees, devoted palace guards defending the temple, and an ethereal Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati bringing the story to life. Follow along as princes Ram and Lakshman and Princess Sita journey into the unknown, encountering peaceful tribal villagers dwelling by the lake, joyful forest animals in a magical forest, and demons in many guises – from mischievous forest spirits, minions and the ferocious Surpanakha, to the giant Kumbhakarna and a dazzling golden deer, all ruled by the insatiable desires of the 10-headed demon King Ravana.
Ramayana! has been central to Mount Madonna School since its founding. It’s the culmination of months of work during the academic year and is a year-end celebration for the community embracing diversity and creative self-expression. With this show, MMS carries forward a tradition inspired by Baba Hari Dass (1923-2018) and supported by the Mount Madonna Center. The Ramayana is a timeless classic teaching the universal values of truth, duty, love and service to the greater good.
The Ramayana! is an annual event in which the entire student body takes part. This magical theatrical production of drama, dance and song has been entertaining audiences for more than 40 years. In the preschool years students may begin by taking part in the ever-popular forest animal scene. Gradually they work their way through various small parts as dancers, singers, monkeys, demons, and martial artists until they finally emerge in the lead roles in their high school years. Behind the scenes, a large supporting cast of parents, teachers, alumni and Mount Madonna Center staff take on the roles of prop makers, costumers, makeup artists, technicians, musicians, stage crew, and concessionaires. This makes the Ramayana! our largest school event of the year.
“Amazing production! This is coming from someone who grew up in India watching numerous Ram Lila every year! Simple yet brilliantly produced and enacted. Each actor is so talented! Must for all- perfect for kids!”
-Swati Singh Govil
“Environment, Professionalism, Quality, Timeliness
This was the greatest Ramayan production I have ever seen. All the kids were really great. Kudos to the whole music, acting, sets and production team in organizing this great play.”- Srinivasa A
“This professional grade all-student extravaganza appealed to fresh audiences along with devoted fans. ‘I am coming here for the first time because I want my daughter to see this. I grew up in India and my parents used to take me to watch Ramayana. My daughter has not seen anything like this before so it’s a perfect opportunity for her,’ said Ramneek, who came from Danville to watch the show.
‘The thing that blows my mind is that somewhere in California, this is being done for the last 35 years. As a school production it is just remarkable. The kids’ performances along with the setup and costumes are just amazing,’ said Nalin, a San Jose native who came to the show with friends and family.”
–Reena Rathore, Special to India West, June 11, 2014 [Read full article]
“Mount Madonna School’s Ramayana!, the best school pageant ever. BUT, the reality goes far beyond. Yes, indeed, all actors are students at the school from preschool to seniors, but the quality of the production raises it to the level of true art.”
–Paul Myrvold Entertainment Editor, Out & About Magazine