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Wednesday, 15 February 2012

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Stage review:

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.

Scenes from the play

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’.

Absorbing dialogues

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 tedious.

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.

Standing out

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.

 

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