|Tuesday, 29 October 2002|
Sugathapala de Silva (74), the architect of the modern Sinhala theatre died yesterday morning at the Kalubowila Hospital after a long illness.
His convalescence did not prevent him from translating and bringing out Shyam Selvadurai's novel Funny Boy in translation only last month.
He was born on August 8, 1928. Sugathapala who hailed from Nawalapitiya came to Colombo and became immersed in the political and cultural movement which were rocking the City in the 1960s and 1970s.
Known as the "lovable dictator" on the local stage, Sugathapala revolutionised local drama with his innovative creations for several decades. He formed the drama group 'Apey Kattiya' and began both translating and adapting dramas by Tennesse Williams and Pirandello.
He followed this with his own original dramas such as Thattu Geval and Boarding Karayo which captured the mood of the new city-bred middle classes of the time. Among his other creations are Eka Walle Pol (1958), Harima Badu Hayak, Mutu Kumari, Esala Sanda and Marasad.
His best work of drama, however, was perhaps, Dunna Dunugamuwe which took audiences by storm in the 1970s. He bridged the gap between the realistic theatre and the new absurd theatre.
Sugathapala de Silva also translated and wrote several original Sinhala novels. He also worked for the SLBC in the 1960s. Sugath's role in radio in those pre-television days was challenging.
Sugath was bed-ridden for nearly five years and was admitted to hospital a few days ago. His remains are at his residence at Soysapura Flats, Moratuwa.
The funeral will take place tomorrow.
As a simple man who suffered much but always retained his sense of idealism, he will be widely mourned.
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