‘Where the Shadow Ends’ is a dance theatre play produced in association with Kriyative Theatre (India) and in collaboration with Kristian Al-Droubi (Serbia). The play looks at how myths have turned into history and shaped the moral fabric of societies across the world. The play explores an epic story of South Asia and finds similar stories that exists in Serbia and across cultures. Though the epic acts as the starting point, the play slowly develops into a much more complex layering of socio-political issues of the past and the present. It weaves the narrative seamlessly between the person-hood and the political whilst questioning notions of duty, belief, loyalty, nationalism and patriarchy.
Watch India’s authentic and traditional art of singing and enacting the epics like the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
The Singkíl or Sayaw sa Kasingkíl is a pre-colonial Philippine dance from the Maranao and Maguindanao groups in Mindanao that is based on Ramayana epic. In the Maharadia Lawana (Maharaja Ravana) of the Maranao’s epic Darangen, the role of Hanuman is replaced by a half-monkey character named Laksamana who is the son of Radia/Raja Mangandiri/Bantugan (Rama). Academic studies have postulated that the conversion of the mostly Hindu-Buddhist Philippine islands to Islam prior to Spanish colonization influenced the Maranaos’ version of the Ramayana. Because Islam does not allow different gods, Hanuman was replaced by a synthesized character called Laksamana who takes on Hanuman’s role in the Ramayana but takes on the name of the Ramayana’s Lakshmana. (Note: this change can be clarified through Juan Francisco and similarly Rey Ty’s papers cited at the end of this paragraph).
In the Singkíl dance Potre Malana Tihaia/Ganding (Sita) runs through Pulu Bandiarmasir/Alangka (Lanka) in grief. Diwatas (devatas) make the trees and vines fall and Potre Tihaia/Ganding runs through the fallen vegetation gracefully. Laksamana (Hanuman) looks for her in the forest and upon finding her tells her that Radia Mangandiri (Rama) and Radia Mangawarna (Lakshmana) are on their way to rescue her. In this version, the character that takes the role of Ramayana’s Hanuman does not turn into a mouse.
(Academic sources: Francisco, Juan R. “Maharadia Lawana.” Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia 7.1 (1969): 186-249.
Ty, Rey. “Muslim Syncretism of the Hindu Ramayana in the Predominantly Christian Philippines: Enhancing Intercultural Understanding through Multicultural Education” Third International Ramayana Conference, September 2010, Northern Illinois University, IL)
The Philippines has its own adaptation of the Ramayana, with two versions surviving after colonization by the Spaniards. One of them is contained within the Darangen, a series of epic poems by the Maranao people along Lake Lanao in Mindanao, an epic poem entitled “Maharadia Lawana” (Maharaja Ravana). In this video from 5:12 until 7:50 Maranao dances show Radia/Raja Mangandiri (Rama) and Radia/Raja Mangawarna (Lakshmana) hunting the deer with golden horns that Tuwan Potre Malano Tihaia/Ganding (Sita) saw in their newly settled fields within the forest. In this version of the Ramayana, the deers split into two and trick both men, and Lawana (Ravana) takes Potre Tihaia/Ganding (Sita) from their hut.
(Academic sources for your perusal:
Francisco, Juan R. “Maharadia Lawana.” Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia 7.1 (1969): 186-249.
Francisco, Juan R,. “The Ramayana In the Philippines.” A Critical Inventory of Rāmāyaṇa Studies in the World: Foreign Languages. Ed. K. Krishnamoorthy. Print.)