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defining drama & theatre

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Stories from Other Cultures

KWAKU ANANSI STORIES - FROM AFRICA

Anansi is one of the most important characters of West African lore. He is a culture hero who acts on behalf of Nyame, his father, the sky God. He brings rain to stop fires and performs other duties for him. His mother is Asase Ya. There are several mentions of Anansi's children. According to some myths, his wife is known as Miss Anansi, or Mistress Anansi, but most commonly as Aso. He is depicted as a spider, a human, or combinations thereof.

The Anansi legends are believed to have originated in the Ashanti tribe in Ghana in Africa. They later spread to other Akan groups and then to the West Indies, Suriname, and the Netherlands Antilles. On Curaçao, Aruba and Bonaire he is known as Nanzi, and his wife as Shi Maria. The word Anansi is Akan and means spider.

Anansi stories are both entertaining and instructional. Listeners are usually advised either to follow Anansi's example, or beware of his folly. Some stories include a proverb at the end, or may incorporate a song.

Here is an example of an Anansi story…

How Anansi Became King Of All Stories

GURU GOBIND SINGH - A STORY FROM THE SIKH RELIGION

Guru Gobind Singh was the tenth leader of the Sikhs and the last human leader. He called together all the Sikhs and instituted a group of five men known as the Khalsa who would be willing to dedicate themselves to God, to defend their faith and to care for the poor and the helpless.

The word Guru is composed of two terms:-
GU - means darkness and RU - means Light. In Sikhism the word 'Guru' is, therefore, defined as the Light that dispels all darkness. Sikh stories are often parables, with strong morals or key messages.

Here is an example of a Guru Gobind Singh story…

Guru Gobind Singh and The Donkey

THE RAMAYANA

The epic Ramayana has been performed throughout India and South East Asia for at least 2000 years. The earliest written text dates back to 400 AD, and was written by the poet Valmiki who brought together five books of stories, songs and prayers connected to Rama and Sita. The epic's origins are in India and Hinduism, but over the centuries the story has crossed seas and mountains, languages and religions, performance styles and art forms. One of the phenomenons of this epic is its migration around the world, which has led to multiple versions and tellings, each storyteller re-composing the story for each audience. Ramayana is still a living performance tradition today.

Here are some examples of parts of the stories…

Princess Sita's Kidnap
Hanuman's Leap to Lanka
Finding Sita at Ravena's Palace in Lanka
The Medicine Mountain
Sita's Fire Test
Walking Home - Divali

'When ever Rama's story is told, my spirit will be there, animating you all'  Valmiki

EVENTS AT ADVANI, INDIA

The Story of the People Who Hugged Trees

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