Bodhi Chhaaya (Shadow of the Bodhi Tree), an artistic and cultural extravaganza tracing the life of Gautam Buddha, combining Theater, Dance and Music, is a visual treat that tries to represent the cohesive diversity of Nepali culture.
The largest cultural and live production Nepal has ever seen, Bodhi Chhaaya depicts the 12 chapters of Buddha’s life from his birth to his passing, showcasing the rich diversity of Nepal’s traditions. Audiences get to the major events in his life expressed through beautiful textures of movement, dance, music, video, animation, shadow-work, lighting and costumes.
“Bodhi Chhaaya tries to express the humanity, conflict, struggle and triumph of his story in a uniquely Nepali way,” shares Director Kavita Srinivasan, adding, “We wanted to enshrine the social fabric in Nepal made of various ethnic communities through this theater art.” It sheds light on the noble truths and teachings of Gautam Buddha.
In Bodhi Chhaaya, there is a deep touch of Nepali culture and traditions through the traditional dance forms and costumes perfectly portraying the ancient times. Traditional dance forms like Lakhey, Sakela, Bhairav, Basundhara, Ghatu and many more have been featured throughout the act. Each and every word in the voiceover sinks with the music and gentle footsteps and gestures of the characters delivering a perfect combination of theater, dance and music.
The lightings, backdrop and shadow techniques are like cherry on the cake, adding so much of preciseness and boldness. There are multiple elements and characters playing simultaneously but all of them are carefully synchronized with a dynamic connection between all the elements. The characters don’t have any lip spoken words, but the narration and the voice over delivers swiftly through the gestures and movements in the spotlight. The spotlight, foreshadowing, brightening-dimming and scene allocation has been done in cohesion with the plot and the theme. The smooth transition of music is also vividly touching, delivering emotions by and by.
All the costumes have been artistically used which in one hand portrays the diversity of culture in Nepal and in the other hand, generates supporting props for the play. The escape of Gautam Buddha from the ‘prison of pleasure’, the journey of his enlightenment and salvation has been presented majestically with the recurring use of metaphors and thematic stressing of words in the narration. The powerful re-imagination of the life of Gautam Buddha through this art can literally give you goose-bumps.
Bodhi Chhaaya will be performed everyday for one year at Rashtriya Nachghar, Jamal, 6 pm onwards.
By Drishti Maharjan