A night with Pyramus and Thisbe
Jehan Aloysius and his grand thespians took to the stage recently to
perform their version of Pyramus And Thisbe. The evening was full of
hilarity and surprises as the actors even got some people from the
audience to take part in the drama. The choreography gets the prize for
being innovative and original.
from Pyramus and Thisbe Pictures by Sachini Perera
The Original version of Pyramus and Thisbe is told by Ovid in his
Metamorphoses. There have been many adaptations of Pyramus and Thisbe
over the centuries. Pyramus and Thisbe are two characters of Roman
mythology, whose love story of ill-fated lovers is also a sentimental
“In the Ovidian version, Pyramus and Thisbe is the story of two
lovers in the city of Babylon who occupy connected houses/walls,
forbidden by their parents to be wed, because of their parents’ rivalry.
Through a crack in one of the walls, they whisper their love for each
other. They arrange to meet near at Ninus’ tomb under a mulberry tree
and state their feelings for each other. Thisbe arrives first, but upon
seeing a lioness with a mouth bloody from a recent kill, she flees,
leaving behind her veil. The lioness drinks from a nearby fountain, then
by chance mutilates the veil Thisbe had left behind. When Pyramus
arrives, he is horrified at the sight of Thisbe’s veil, assuming that a
fierce beast had killed her. Pyramus kills himself, falling on his sword
in proper Roman fashion, and in turn splashing blood on the white
mulberry leaves. Pyramus’ blood stains the white mulberry fruits,
turning them dark. Thisbe returns, eager to tell Pyramus what had
happened to her, but she finds Pyramus’ dead body under the shade of the
mulberry tree. Thisbe, after a brief period of mourning, stabs herself
with the same sword. In the end, the gods listen to Thisbe’s lament, and
forever change the colour of the mulberry fruits into the stained colour
to honour the forbidden love”
So states an entry in Wikipedia.
The Pyramus and Thisbe plot appears twice in Shakespeare’s works,
most famously in the plot of Romeo and Juliet. Another version being the
comic recapitulation of Pyramus and Thisbe which appears in the play a
Midsummer Night’s Dream. It was this comic recapitulation that
theatrical genius Jehan Aloysius staged. Aloysius led from the front
playing the role of Nick Bottom. He was well supported by a group of
immensely talented actors and dancers both girls and boys. The young
girls’ bodies glistened in the stage lights and the dance was full of
power and passion.
It was an unforgettable evening with a lot of improvisation. Aloysius
and his crew drew peels of laughter with the usage of smart Sinhalese. A
foreign lady in the audience was humorously called: “Anna Suddhiyek”.
Aloysius wearing false teeth to make him look like a donkey used the
most lethal weapon in his theatrical armory, and that was his humor.
There was even a scene where he threw his fake knife and the stage
manager entered clasping the knife to his chest and collapsing on the
stage. Aloysius said “Hambe! Stage Manager ne?”