Chakra Announcements

Actors wanted for Gaura Purnima Festival, Mayapur

by Parividha das

Posted October 11, 2003

His Holiness Bhakti Purusottama Swami has requested me to stage some of my productions during the Gaura Purnima Festival.

I will try to stage as many of my musicals, comedies and dramas as is possible.

But in order to accomplish that I need devotees (male & female), who are interested to participate in my productions.

It doesn't matter if your English isn't perfect, as you're not required to speak yourself, as all my productions are prerecorded.

If you are interested to take part please sent an e-mail to: parividha@pamho.net

The following is written by Rasajna d.d. (ACBSP)

When I moved into the Brooklyn temple, we gradually started doing a little theatre. We helped direct the plays in a more so-called professional manner. I hadn't met Srila Prabhupada yet, but when he was about to come, we prepared the play, "Krishna kidnaps Rukmini. I played the part of Rukmuni, and my husband Lohitaksha played Krishna. When it was time for the performance, the curtains opened, and there was a big empty space in front of Prabhupada, who was in his rocking chair. Everyone else was behind him. The play opens with Rukmini sitting on a stage writing a letter to Krishna. All of a sudden I got nervous. Even after all my years of doing theatre, I thought, "Prabhupada, oh my God, how can I do this?" This was way beyond the fear of going to an audition. I thought, "Here Prabhupada, the spiritual master of the universe, and I am performing Rukmini. Me. He's going to see this as ridiculous. My knees started shaking. I tried to press it into the floor, and then I took a deep breath.

At that point, Prabhupadals presence calmed me down instead of making me nervous, and we had a wonderful performance. Towards the end of the play, when Rukmi's hair gets shaved in a strange way, all the devotees laughed. Prabhupada stoped them from laughing, saying, 'Why are you laughing? This isn't funny." After all it was humiliating for Rukmi. Prabhupada trained us in so many ways.

After the play we were taking our makeup off, when Mohananda, Prabhupada's servant, came and told us what Prabhupada has said about the performance. Prabhupada had said. "This is better than reading my books" and "I want to take this whole troupe with me to Africa. Unfortunately that wasn't possible because we were the main event of the Brooklyn temple's Sunday feat program. But the fact is that Prabhupada put great importance on theatrical performances. He wanted Krishna consciousness to be presented as a cultural movement. Once in the Bhagavatam class he said, 'All my disciples should act in plays because when you play the part of any of these characters, you get the feeling of what it's all about. It becomes more real. "We tend to forget about our feelings because we get caught up in the process. But when you perform a part, you have to use your feelings to portray the character. For the period of the performance you're transformed. Prabhupada also complimented me. He said, "Rukmini, she was the best."

Another time, we had an ecstatic performance in Mayapur at the Mayapur festival in 1977. Prabhupada was sick and not giving lectures, but he would come to see the play and then go back to his room. We were doing a portion of the Ramayana, and I was playing Surpanaka. Somehow we got trees on stage to create a forest effect.

And I was coming up the stairs in the back, when Prabhupada saw me and started clapping and laughing. During the exchange between Surpanaka, Lord Ramachandra, and Laxman, he was laughing hard and slapping his legs with both hands. I looked out for just a moment, and all the devotees were watching him. He was the only one who was watching the play. Then he stood up and gave a standing ovation. It was ecstatic.

The amazing thing is that Prabhupada did not judge. He was like a child when he watched plays. All our inhibitions as actors and actresses would go away, His personality was amazing in that he could be like a child and also be a wise saintly person. It's an amazing combination.