RASA Day 2023
RASA (Ramana Sunritya Aalaya) teaches theater arts to individuals with different abilities. They use the Theater Arts for Holistic Development (TAHD) approach developed by Dr. Ambika Kameshwar, founder of RASA. I have been learning theater arts with RASA since 2020.
This is my second performance for RASA Day and my third drama performance with the Ramana Sunritya Aalaya (RASA) theater group. The previous two plays (Jatayu Moksham and Krihna Dootam) were in Tamil. But this play is in English with a Hindi song!
Thank You CreativeSaathi Morpheus Nag for the beautiful portrait of Swami Vivekananda.
Now, I am familiar with how RASA theater productions work. When I did my first play, it was much harder because I had no idea how the process worked. I also did not know anyone in
RASA. I was an online student and had not met other students. But now I go to RASA and know many of the students there.
I enjoyed RASA Day 2023. I liked hanging out with my RASA group before the performance. I also met people from the Ramana Maharshi Centre for Learning (RMCL) group. When I was with the RASA group waiting for the show, teachers from RMCL also came and said hello to everyone. I was also happy that my two grandmothers, aunt, and my mother’s cousin’s family attended the event. Some of my relatives watched the performance by livestream.
Watch the recording of RASA Day 2023. My play Swami Vivekananda starts at 2 hours and 1minute into the video.
Preparing for the performance
My aunt volunteers at the Ramakrishna Math. As soon as she knew that I was going to participate in this theater production, she got me some books about Swami Vivekananda.
I started reading the books. I also watched a video of a prior performance. I listened to the audio and learned my parts.
Imitate, Repeat, Memorize, and Improvise
This is my third drama performance. In each performance, we follow the imitate, repeat, memorize, and improvise process.
Imitate: We learn by imitating Dr. Vaishnavi Poorna, our drama teacher. We have to learn how to position ourselves on stage, how to coordinate movements with other students, and how to coordinate movements with music. We learn these elements through imitation.
Repeat: I repeat my part daily with the video. My mother helps me practice at home. Sometimes, she stands in the place of other characters to help me practice.
Memorize: As I practice, I memorize my part. I check and make sure I remember my part completely.
Improvise: Even if you are well-prepared, we have to be prepared to improvise! Things don’t go exactly as planned on stage.
Swami Vivekananda and Ramana Maharshi
Since I learn about Ramana Maharshi in my dance classes, I am curious about Swami Vivekananda and Ramana Maharshi. How were they similar? How were they different?
100 Days of Reading
After finishing this performance, I will be starting a 100 Days of Reading project. During this project, I plan to read about Ramana Maharshi and Swami Vivekananda. I also want to read the Ramayana and Mahabharata since my previous performances were from Ramayana and Mahabharatha. I will start my reading from what I have learned through Theater Arts for Holistic Development (TAHD) experiences. First, I will finish reading the books on Swami Vivekananda that I started during the play.
Ray I. 2006. The Story of Vivekananda. Advaita Ashrama, Kolkata 700013. ISBN 978-81-85301-65-5
Swami Raghaveshananda. 2022. Swami Vivekananda Pictorial. Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai,
Theater arts is not just about performances. Once you know the tools of TAHD, you can use them in many ways. For example, I am planning to use my TAHD experiences to enrich my reading experiences. As mentioned earlier, interactions with family member and community. To learn more, join our group here.