Kumbakarna and Lakshmana, the brothers of the two protagonists of the Ramayana, are connected by boons that dramatically alter their cycles of sleep and wakefulness. Kumbakarna along with his brothers, Ravana and Vibhishana performed a major yajna and penance for Lord Brahma. When the time came for asking a boon from Brahma, his tongue was tied by goddess Saraswati (acting on Indra’s request). So instead of asking for Nirdevathvam (annihilation of the Devas), he asked for Nidrawathvam (sleep) and his request was granted. Laxmana, on the other hand, was allowed to give up his sleep completely and bequeath it to his wife, Urmila, for the fourteen years of his exile. In the course of time, both boons seem to acquire the dimensions of a curse, as they each have an uncomfortable outcome.
Adishakti Laboratory for Theatre Arts and Research is a performance company based out of Pondicherry, engaged in the research and reanimation of traditional and folk knowledge in theatre, dance, music, movement and craft forms. Started in 1981 by late theatre director Veenapani Chawla, Adishakti has aimed at re-establishing the validity of theatre around the notion of the live presence of the performer and worked towards widening the scope of theatre. The new aesthetic as being explored by Adishakti involves creating a contemporary hybrid aesthetic and performance language. The aim is to equip the performers with tools whereby they can impact their audience through an enhanced and vibrating energy both physically and psychologically. Adishakti has been disseminating this alternative performance language through its Source of Performance Energy (SOPE) workshops, and performances based on Indian epics in India and abroad.
Nimmy Raphel studied Mohiniyattam and Kuchipudi dance in Kerala Kalamandalam from 1995-2001, which she has performed all over India. She is currently a resident actor, dancer, musician, and puppeteer at Adishakti, practicing its methodology of theatre since 2001. Nimmy has performed with Adishakti in Brhannala and Ganapati at various venues both, national and international. She also performs in Adishakti’s The Hare and The Tortoise and Rhinoceros. From 2008 she has been operating lights for Impressions of Bhima. Nimmy disseminates Adishakti’s performance method which relate the tantric centres in the body to movement behaviour and psychological and vocal expression, through workshops held at Adishakti. In 2010 Nimmy received the APPEX Fellowship, which took her to Bali for a period of a month. Nimmy Raphael collaborated with Indonesian dancer Sardono W. Kusumo to create a theatre production called Rama, Hanuman, Rawana which premiered in Adishakti. The production also went to The International Conference on Ramayana: Reinterpretation in Asia in Singapore. In 2012 she was part of an exchange programme held in Korea between Adishakti and Performing group Tuida. As part of Adishakti’s three-year Ramayana Project, in 2011 she created a play called Nidrawathwam which she wrote, directed, and performed in. She was also part of Natyanubhava, directed by Sharada Ramanathan. Nimmy was also the recipient of the Junior Fellowship from the Ministry of Culture for the year of 2012-13.