Chicago performing arts group to celebrate Diwali with show at Naper Settlement

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- To celebrate the Indian holiday of Diwali, Mandala South Asian Performing Arts will perform "The Story of Ram" next Saturday.

"The Story of Ram" is Mandala's interpretation of the ancient epic "Ramayana," a classic tale that spans across cultures, producing a multidimensional theatre work that combines contemporary culture and mythology. Artists share slices of rich tradition steeped in the epic, including dance, music and puppetry. Permeating the arts throughout South and Southeast Asia, the tale of Ram, his wife Sita and his brother Lakshman exiled in the forest, at odds with the brilliant king Ravana, weaves together cultures from India, Indonesia, Thailand and more.

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In its sixth year, Mandala's "The Story of Ram" takes place outdoors for the first time at the historic Naper Settlement to provide a completely immersive experience, with audience members interacting with the characters and moving around the environment. The performers will portray humans and animals.

Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is India's most important holiday of the year, celebrated by people of many faiths. The festival gets its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that Indians light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects from spiritual darkness.

The performances will happen at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. at the historic Naper Settlement on 523 S. Webster St. in Naperville.
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