The Trojan Women descend on Lionel Wendt



MOTHER COURAGE: Anoja Weerasinghe with Kosala Sandaruvan, Kamal Amila and Tilani Baranasooriya.

DRAMA: Two Sinhala stage dramas "Trojan Kanthawo" and "Diriya Mawa Saha Agey Daruwo" will go on the boards at the Lionel Wendt on December 19 and 21 at 7.00 p.m.

"Trojan Kanthawo"is a translation of the Greek playwright Euripides' "The Trojan Women" (Troiades). The story revolves around the fates of the women of Troy after their city has been sacked, their husbands killed, and as their remaining families are about to be taken away as slaves.

The play is directed and produced by Dharmasiri Bandaranayake. The cast include a number of celebrities: Anoja Weerasinghe, Neil Alles, Yashoda Wimaladharma, Meena Kumari, Nilmini Buwaneka, and Dharmasiri Bandaranayake.

Music

The set designs are also by Dharmasiri Bandaranayake and Nimal Bulathsinhala while Rookantha Gunathileka has composed the music. Jerome de Silva handles the choreography and the make-up is by Wasantha Vittachchi. Priyantha Prabash is the stage manager.

The German dramatist Bertolt Brecht's "Mother Courage" (Mutter Courage und lhre kinder) translated into Sinhala as "Diriya Mawa Saha Agey Daruwo" is a production of the HSBC together with the Abhina Academy of Performing Arts. Sue Weston, directress from London, had directed the play and the translation is by Henry Jayasena.

The music is by maestro Premisiri Kemadasa. Lal Harendranath is the art director of the drama and the costume designing is by Suwineetha Subasinghe.

The lighting director is Wasantha Kumara, the lyricist is Ajantha Ranasinghe and the stage manager is Priyantha Prabash. Prakash Galgewela is the prop Master of "Diriya Mawa Saha Agey Daruwo", Nalinda Premaratne and Vishaka Jayaweera as assistant directors.

The project involves the tsunami and war victims and is done as a way of helping them overcome their torments.

On visiting the camps as a part of the "Trauma and Triumphs" project launched by the HSBC, Anoja soon realized that the youths have immense talent behind them. To quote her they possess "the ability to act even better than some of the popular actors and actresses found at present".

Training programme

In the future the Abhina Academy hopes to engage itself in a training programme with the help of the United Nations Development Training Project. They express the hope of training 26 teachers and a large number of students in a six month training course.

"One cannot learn the art of acting through theory. There should be practical training to learn about drama and theatre. We have discussed about this issue with the Teachers' Training College, Bingiriya. The Minister of Education, Susil Premajayantha, is very cooperative," she said.

The latest plans of the Academy involves plans in organizing one workshop with the Rohana Special School in Matara and another on behalf of professional actors and actresses. The workshops are to be conducted free of charge. Their future plans also involve getting three British directors Julian Croucher, Rob Thirstle, and Wolfgang Stunge to conduct the workshops.

"Both these plays that we are staging in December have great relevance to the current situation of our motherland. The loss of lives and property, destruction and cruelty of war is clearly highlighted. I felt that as an artist, the only thing that I can do for society is to put forward this message and hope that people will take this into mind.

Thanks to the Norwegian Embassy we are able to go on tour to all parts of the island, especially to remote areas. I wish to thank the RSL (Rebuilding Sri Lanka), the media and the United Nations organizations (UNDP, GEF, SGP and SSGF) for all their support,"she said.

The Abhina Academy of Performing Art is located at 140/15, Kalapura, Templer's Road, Mt. Lavinia. Telephone 011-2739771.

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