Little Did explores the nature of cross-cultural collaboration with A Ramayana, a selection from an epic poem familiar to over a billion people. Using live sitar and overhead projectors, the company presents shadow puppetry in raga form.
Our first, ten-minute excerpt of the piece premiered as part of Rachel Feinstein’s “Last Days of Folly” event in Madison Square Park on September 3, 2014 (sponsored by Performa). You can see pictures from this premiere performance below. In 2016, Little Did reprised a revised version of our Ramayana piece at Threes Brewing bar and event space in Brooklyn. The performance was part of Isaac Gillespie’s music residency which also featured an original mask piece by Sara Jane Munford. In 2017, we performed it as part of Chinese Theater Works’ Shadow Slam.
From 2017-2019, Little Did expanded the piece from a wordless ten minutes to an evening-length full production. By enlisting the help of incredible Indian collaborators in the fields of design, music and puppetry, we created a show for all ages and cultures that’s artistically curious yet culturally sensitive. A Ramayana premiered during October 2019 at the Tank Theater, and featured a multidisciplinary collective of artists inspired by puppetry styles from South Asia, traditional raga music of North India and a “video narrator” from West Bengal. In addition to our 6 shows, we also organized and led 3 different workshops that delved into some of the themes presented, including press-screen puppetry, Carnatic singing and the Ramayana story in the context of Diwali.
A Ramayana is made possible in part by the ITE Space Grant for Theater (curated by Leta Tremblay), The Nancy Quinn Fund, the Creative Space Grant and the Creative Opportunity Fund (programs of the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation). It was also supported by public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. It was developed in residency with In The Water Theatre Company, Drop Forge and Tool Company, BarnArts and the Center at West Park Object Movement Festival.
Special Thanks to our incredible donors who made this show possible by donating $5,842 to our crowdfunding campaign: Elyse Levesque, Elizabeth Coan, Joe and Maureen Moses, Starry Krueger, Julie Congress, Bob and Sandy Santy, Monica Mordaunt, Christopher Lowell, Phil Soltanoff, Sarah Whalen, Kemmerer Rebecca, Cole Knapper, Jonathan Moses, Sam Gold, George Peterson, Katherine Goodman, Joe and Patrice Lorence, Teresa Hooper, Denise Baddour, Matthew Keyes, Chrissie Brewer, Ema Holdredge, Deborah Downes, Colin Lord, Kathleen Lord, Matt Caldamone, Steve Carlin, Rachel Derr, Martha Bennet, Debra Navratil, Hugh Brewer, Jacboo Perez, Barbara Peterson, Lee Bilsky and Molly Johnsen