Hair-splitting verbal tussle
Athula Pathirana’s drama ‘Dolahak’ provides you with a theatrical
experience which is nothing short of riveting. At one level the drama
amuses you and feeds you with subtle humour, on another it grips you and
beguiles your aesthetic taste-strings with its hair-splitting dialogues.
The powerful dramatic script foiled with strong stage-performance
enthralls the audience to the core. The pace is exhilarating and it
keeps the audience on the edge.
The drama revolves around a simple storyline of twelve jurors trying
to come to a decision on whether to convict a sixteen year old kid for
the crime of committing the murder of his own father. Based on the
evidence, all the jurors, except one, vote that the kid is guilty.
The next show of ‘Dolahak’ drama will
unfold at the Lionel Wendt Theatre on March 10.
The drama unfolds around the hair-splitting verbal tussle of jurors,
as they try to come to a unanimous decision. The drama is a Sinhalese
adaptation from Reginald Rose’s teleplay ‘Twelve Angry Men’.
The drama is exemplary for the way in which the budding, young
director Athula Pathirana uses strong dialogues, stage-performance and
powerful script to create thrilling and absorbing drama on stage. The
setting barely changes. For some, the very prospect of viewing a play
without the effects of volatile and varied stage-setting would sound
However, the ploy of having a constant stage-setting allows the
audience to focus on the strong, head-twisting dialogues that takes
place in the stage.
There are no glamorous divas or melodramatic romantic scenes to spoil
the play, just twelve men engaging themselves in a heated verbal battle
to find their own voice amid chaos.
The drama is enjoyable and amusing to watch on the surface value
alone. But it demands the audience to have an in-depth analysis on
themes that it tries to convey.
In a sense it is a drama on uprising and revolt. There are two ways
in which to tackle life. One way would be to go along with the trend and
conform to the prejudices of the system.
Or else you can argue, rebel and fight against the tide. You can
either question, revolt or else just yield and retreat. The easier thing
to do would be just yield and shut your eyes to the mayhem that happens
around you. As the cliché would say, this is very much like trying to
crush your skull on a hard rock.
However, this is the very thing that the lone juror tries to do.
Against all odds, he stands against all the other jurors and fight for
the right decision.
He brings beguiling arguments and create havoc on stage, as he tries
to waver and fight against the stubbornness of other jurors.
In that sense, the drama starts as a lone man’s fight against a
frigid, stubborn system. As the play goes on he gains support and
respect from others with his chivalric arguments and make a strong case
for himself. The roles of twelve jurors were played by a nice foil of
senior and young stage-actors. W Jayasiri’s performance as a stubborn,
vulgar, juror stands out from the rest. He captures the audience and
creates riveting humour through his strong performance.
The rest of the cast include Vishvajith Gunesekara, Lakshman Mendis,
Dharmapriya Dias, Thumindu Dodanthanna, Saman Pushpa Liyanage, Gamini
Wijeysinge, Jagath Manuwarna, Chaminda Sampath Jayaweera, Gihan de
Chikera, Pujitha de Mel and Sanjaya Hettiarchchi, The next show of
‘Dolahak’ drama will unfold at Lionel Wendt Theatre on March 10. If you
haven’t experienced it already, it is a drama that all theater lovers
should not miss.