“Ramayana” Onstage: Celebrating 35 Years of Magic

Enduring 2600 years as one of the world’s most widely-read classics, Ramayana! tells the story of Prince Ram, who, banished from his kingdom, leaves with his true love Sita and brother Lakshman to find a new home. The trio embarks upon an uncertain journey into the Dandaka Forest and beyond, encountering an array of magical characters, including: tribal folk and gentle forest animals, giants and wizards, heroic monkeys and bears, an enchanted golden deer, a kingdom of demons led by the evil 10-headed Lord Ravana, and a wild, fire-breathing dragon!

The performances on June 7-9 mark Mount Madonna School’s (MMS) 35th annual production, making it the longest running production of this timeless Indian epic in the western hemisphere!

Four years ago MMS brought Ramayana! to San Jose’s Mexican Heritage Theater, an ambitious endeavor that has facilitated the introduction of new audiences to this unique theatrical production. The show features a cast of some 200 student actors, ages 3 to 18, accompanied by a choir and adult musicians. It is a story of love, adventure, separation and an eventual joyous reunion, in an ancient allegory of the battle of good and evil. The show is filled with exciting action, spectacular costuming, family humor and original, live music.

As the story unfolds, relevant, profound and subtle themes emerge – not only the power of goodness and the determination of love – but also the need for compassion for all beings. A rich performing arts tradition and integrated arts curriculum make MMS performances outstanding. Put aside any stereotypes of what “school play” might bring to mind; think professional quality, phenomenal, authentic costumes, staging, musical talent and dramatic accomplishment. This young cast works hard, and it shows!

Bringing Ramayana! to life each year is a labor of love for the crew as well, with hundreds of faculty, staff, parents and volunteers contributing in myriad ways. This is testament to the strong volunteer spirit and community-building efforts espoused by the small Central Coast school known for strong academics, performing arts and producing volleyball championships.

“This play is never a casual walk in the creative park,” comments longtime director Sampad Martin Kachuck. “Instead, it is often a metaphorical jungle journey of navigating internal and external mountains and valleys, of healthy doses of lovely spring and stormy winter.

“For more than thirty years at MMS, the Ramayana! is an annual event, a rite of passage that signals the end of the school year, a play layered in tradition, not just for observant Hindus, but for our school. Our history with this play serves us well. When we begin our process in February the majority of students are eager and positively anticipatory of the Ramayana! Considering the finicky nature of adolescents, this palpable buy-in without much promotion is quite phenomenal.“

Ramayana! 2013:

Performances at the Mexican Heritage Theater, 1700 Alum Rock Ave., San Jose, June 7 and 8, 7:00pm; June 9, 2:00pm. Tickets on sale now; All Seats Reserved: $35 adults/$25 children (18 and under). Special Dress Circle tickets available for Saturday and Sunday performances, $85 each ($35 of each Dress Circle ticket is tax-deductible). Dress Circle tickets include a backstage tour, pre-show reception with hors d’oeuvres, intermission treats and the best seats in the house! These seats are limited! All tickets available online at MountMadonnaSchool.org/ramayana


Contact: Leigh Ann Clifton, Media & Public Relations,

Nestled among the redwoods on 355 mountaintop acres, Mount Madonna is a safe and nurturing college-preparatory school that supports students in becoming caring, self-aware and articulate critical thinkers, who are prepared to meet challenges with perseverance, creativity and integrity. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville.