The Theft of Sita is a re-telling of the Sanskrit Ramayana, the tale of how Lord Rama's beautiful bride Sita is stolen by the wicked demon Rawanna. The story is told from the perspective of Twalen and Merdah, the servant clowns of the Wayan Kulit, with the action transposed progressively to contemporary Indonesia.
Sita is snatched from the lush mangroves of old Bali and taken to the modern city of Lanka. Rama and his servants battle the ravages of deforestation and tourism before they reach the urban slums and their traffic and police brutality.
This Australian-Indonesian cross-cultural collaboration brings together a fusion of art-forms. The traditional arts of Indonesian Wayang Kulit shadow-puppetry and Gamelan music are fused with jazz improvisation and digital and video projections.
While it is broadly located in a mythic Indonesia, the tale it tells of the costs of environmental destruction, the sacrifice of the natural world in pursuit of power and profit could be located anywhere.
The Theft of Sita is a fable which squares up to the relentless march of globalisation with wit and imagination.
Writer and Director: Nigel Jamieson
Music composed by Paul Grabowski in association with I Wayan Gde Yudane
Indonesian puppet direction: I Made Sidia
The production tour included Riverside Studios, Oxford Playhouse, Warwick Arts Centre, Snape Maltings and the Belfast Festival.
photo: courtesy LIFT