Throughout last week there were performances of Ramlila at venues across Guyana. These were done by a performing group from the Ayodhya Research Institute of India, hosted by the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha which took them to the locations in rural communities for four performances: Groeneveldt (Leonora), Yakusari (Black Bush Polder), Tain and Bath.
The visiting troupe also held workshops in acting, costume and voice “to encourage the emergence of local Ramlila groups” and support the building of “local Ramlila performances across Guyana”. This is also part of a Caribbean network as the Dharmic Sabha is collaborating with the National Council for Indian Culture in Trinidad to host Ramlila in the Caribbean in 2018. There was a deliberate effort, according to Head of the Dharmic Sabha Dr Vindhya Persaud, to expose communities across Guyana to this experience for obvious reasons – to revive the Ramlila cultural tradition.
And indeed, these stage appearances by the Ayodhya Research Institute in rural Guyana are very significant for a number of reasons. These include, of course, the history of Ramlila in Guyana, the tradition itself, the origin and preoccupation of the performing group, and the fact that they appeared in Guyanese villages…..