30th January, 2005  Volume 11, Issue 27

First with the news and free with its views                                     First with the news and free with its views                             First with the news and free with its views                                    


Giving life to death

By Risidra Mendis

A good response towards Sanda Langa Maranaya, the Sinhala version of  Federico Garcia Lorca's Blood Wedding has encouraged Kaushalya Fernando to stage the play once again.

The play is one of the most famous trilogies based on Spanish society and written by Lorca in response to a newspaper article concerning a local murder in rural Spain. "Lorca is probably the most celebrated dramatist in Spain and according to theatre critics and academics one of the most poetic playwrights of the 20th Century," says Fernando.

According to Fernando, Sanda Langa Maranaya is basically a love story, which revolves around three youthful characters. "The production style of the play is semi musical, surrealistic type that blends intense acting on stage with choreographed movements, music and song, vivid lighting and costumes," explains Fernando.

The play is able to address the intellect of the audience with a strong sense of aesthetics. In short it is meaningful entertainment for the whole family. The professional theatre group of Play House, Kotte, which was founded by Somalatha Subasinghe in 1979 to promote theatre in Sri Lanka, takes part in the leading and supporting roles, in addition to veteran stage actors such as Lucien Bulathsinghala and Subasinghe.

Sanda Langa Maranaya was well received by the audience when it had its premier performance in November 2004. According to many theatre critics, it is a stunning and elegant play. The play has now succeeded in setting new standards in Sri Lankan theatre. "This is the right kind of play for those who look for meaningful entertainment and for those who want to have an enchanting evening with their loved ones," Fernando said.

The February performance of the play is organised by Anoja Weerasinghe's Abhinaya School of Acting. "Weerasinghe's objective is to promote good theatre in Sri Lanka by way of organising performances in and around Colombo. The income generated will be utilised for the benefit of her students at her acting school," explained Fernando.

According to Fernando, Chamila Peries, Wishvajith Gunasekera and Prasanna Mahagamage the new generation of performing artistes who are groomed at the Play House in Kotte, give life to the three main youthful characters that are wrapped up in the triangle of love.

Other characters include Nadee Kammallaweera, Suresh Fernando, Nayomi Gunasiri, Lakmini Seneviratne, Sharmaine Gunaratne, Mayura Kanchana, Sanjaya Hettiarachchi, Champika Kannangara, Ishara Wickramasena, Thilokaneee Gunasekera and a number of newcomers to the national theatre who were groomed at the Play House.

Lorca's Blood Wedding is translated by Fernando and Kammallaweera while Nadeeka Guruge composed the music. Choreography is by Chandana Aluthge, stage sets and properties by Namal Jayasinghe, make up by Sumedha Hewawitharana and stage management by Anura Jayasena.

Blood Wedding, will be held on February 6 at the Lionel Wendt Theatre at 6.30p.m.

Stoned counterfeiting

The origin of the story, Gal Pilimaya Saha Bol  Pilimaya is based on a visit to Gal Viharaya by Gunadasa Amarasekera in 1986 where he saw a new statue modeled on the original Gal Pilimaya placed next to it and people worshiping at it.

By that time the dharmista samajaya ushered in 1977 had lost its glamour, the writer thought what he saw was symbolic of the age of the counterfeit. This sets the background for this piece of writing.

Reading this allegorical tale today the reader is bound to ask whether in the period after as well as before, right from our independence, this nation has thrived on counterfeiting and the worship of false gods.

In the teledrama Gal Pilimaya Saha Bol Pilimaya, Upali is an ordinary villager appointed to look after the Gal Pilmaya, who makes a sincere effort to expose the counterfeit and safeguard the sanctity of the true image. Regrettably Upalis' effort, though sincere and heroic, is fruitless. However, it is his son Wimalasena's generation that ultimately destroys the counterfeit by blasting it. In the process Wimalasena's friend gets killed and there begins Wimalasena's trauma as he turns into a psychiatric patient. But it is his dead friend who comes to his rescue as he appears to Wimalsena in a hallucinatory dream to assure that his death is no hindrance of his mission.

The teledrama is based on the novel Gal Pilimaya Saha Bol Pilmaya written in 1987 and its sequel Pilima Lovai Piyavi Lovai written in 2001.

Supported by a cast of talented actors, versatile actor Jayalath Manoratne plays the role of Upali. The teledrama is directed by Christie Shelton Fernando and is produced by Ranjith K. Perera of Winson films.

However, the producer's view of the teledrama is that this production would usher in a salutary trend in our teledramas.

Camerata Musica's tsunami concert

Following their first concert in November 2004, spanning four centuries of choral music, the Camerata Musica Chamber Choir is preparing a major concert to honour the tsunami dead and to collect funds for the relief of survivors.

Adam Smyth, at one time a Choral Scholar of Magdalen College Oxford, will rehearse the Camerata Choir and conduct its performance of Purcell's profoundly moving Funeral Music For Queen Mary of 1695, scored for choir, trombones and timpani.

Lalanath de Silva, formerly conductor, Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka and currently resident in Geneva, will be the guest conductor in Mozart's Magnificent Requiem with a full classical orchestra and four soloists. It was Mozart's last work and was written on his death-bed.

The concert will be on Easter Saturday, March 26th at St. Michael's Church, Kollupitiya. Rehearsals have just begun and there are vacancies in all voices for committed singers - call Dr. Selvie Perera on 2699499.

Friends-in-Harmony in tsunami concert

Friends-in-Harmony, and Channa Upuli Art Foundation, will perform in a concert organised by the Alumni Association, Colombo University for the tsunami victims.

The evening's programme will consist of music and dance from the two famous groups, Friends-in-Harmony, a group of professionals who have got together for the love of music and Channa Upuli, the famed dance ensemble who performed at the Sydney Opera House recently.

All artistes are performing free of charge to raise maximum funds for this worthy cause.

The concert will take place at the New Town Hall, Green Path on February 20 at 6.30p.m.

Tickets are available at the University of Colombo - College House and British Council.

Tsunami photos urgently needed

The Mihimandala Organisation is organising `a before and after tsunami' exhibition for the public. Organisers of Mihimandala kindly request the public to send before and after event black and white or coloured photographs of the recent tsunami disaster. Photos should be to the size of 4 X 6.

The selected entries will have to be enlarged according to a decision taken by the Mihimandala Organisation. Those sending entries should mention their name, address, telephone and fax number along with their photographs.

Photo entries should be sent to Mihimandala, P O Box 7, Sri Jayewardenapura, Kotte.

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