Birthday meets death!
Nalaka Vithanage speaks on his third stage drama:
The title itself makes us question our better senses. Young dramatist
Nalaka Vithanage, the son of reputed stage dramatist Bandula Vithanage,
has made a comeback after three years with a new Sinhala play titled
Upanda Maranaya (Death on Birthday). The play will go on boards Lumbini
theatre on July 12 at 3.30 p.m. and 6.30 p.m.
Scenes from Upanda Maranaya
"It is a political farce and comprises comic situations. The
characters as well as incidents have emerged from real life. The action
unfolds between seven characters that represent certain figures in the
society. The plot is woven around a politician and the people he
encounters like his secretary, a famous actress, a police officer and
many more," Nalaka gave a brief description on what to watch out for
when viewing his play.
The story reflects how power lures individuals who are greedy to
fulfill their own needs by gaining favour through the politician. He
says that the main reason for constructing a play of this nature is to
portray the harsh realities in life. "The audience will enjoy the
episodes a lot as they involve some hilarious action. However it is not
purely aimed at entertainment as they would realise that they would be
laughing basically at themselves and similar situations or emotions that
they themselves have encountered. The absurd situations in this play are
very much on par with reality," he said.
Amiththa Weerasinghe, Duleeka Marapana, Bandula Vithanage, Kingsley
Loas, Prasad Sooriyarachchi, Ayesha Dissanayake and Upali Bandara make
up the cast for the play which is penned, directed and produced by
The stage lightening is by Wasantha Kumara, set designing by Rohan
Samaradivakara and make up by Nimal Rajapaksa and Gamini Costa. Costumes
are sponsored by the Symbosium. Nalaka had previously directed two more
plays, Rathri Bojanaya (adaptation of Marc Camoletti's 'Don't Dress for
Dinner') in 2004 and Kasi Malla in 2006. His second creation took him to
the last round of the State Drama festival in 2006. "The public are once
again eager to see quality and meaningful creations today. If you have a
lot of faith in your creation in delivering the goods to the
contemporary society, no doubt, the hall will fill out for there are
still a lot of theatergoers in the island," he said with ample
confidence about the audience flocking into theatres.
"Now is the best time to engage in drama making as terrorism is
eliminated and the public are looking towards the entertainment scene to
add colour to their monotonous lifestyle. If you look around you will
see that many new plays are going on boards at the theatres. There is a
revival in the local stage drama scene."
Nalaka is a product of Nalanda College, Colombo and had been involved
with the stage ever since his young days, especially because of his
father's devotion for the stage.
Nalaka recalled, "When I was a kid I used to watch my father engaging
in rehearsals. His dedication for the stage inspired me and lured me
towards the field. Drama making was an interesting experience for me and
I have developed a passion for the subject." Though he had chosen
commerce during his Advanced Levels Nalaka stated that he never lost
touch with the world of arts. He said that his father consistently roped
him in for teledrama projects and stage creations.
These experiences were no means loss on the young man for he observed
facts and stored them in to be used for his own creations.
Nalaka said, "I am reading books on British comedies and farces these
days. The Ray Chooney's plays fascinated me because he had used
different styles and techniques."
He had also penned scripts for teledramas like Dekona Gini for
Swarnavahini. More demand to compose teledrama scripts have come his way
after this debut attempt. He had also acted a small part in Hiru Dahasa
during his childhood. He is currently employed at the British Council.
Queried if he hopes to take the play to other areas of the island
Nalaka stated that is one of the missions he has under his belt. He said
that a show, organised by the British Council, is already scheduled to
take place at Navarangahala on August 2 at 6.30 p.m.