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Wednesday, 7 March 2012

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Theatre for next generation

Fans of Sri Lankan theatre are in for a whole week of exhilarating aesthetic thrill ride, as the Colombo International Theatre Festival 2012 is expected to unravel from March 26 onwards. The festival is organised by M Safeer and his vibrant youth from ‘Interact Art Society’. As their very motto says, ‘Interact Art Society’ believes in promoting new trends in modern theatre and creating theatre for the next generation.

M Safeer

They hope that the International Theatre Festival will act as a catalyst to raise an awareness regarding contemporary trends in modern theatre.

Creative talents

For the past few years, Safeer and co have been showcasing their creative talents in their own miniature, ‘Black Box Theatre’ in Rajagiriya. Shying away from their routine annual procedure, this time around, the group has set out do a grand project in organizing an International Theatre Festival. Artscope visited Safeer and his team to discuss the difficulties that they face on organising an event of this magnitude.

Sharing his thoughts on the festival, Safeer noted, “We have Colombo International Book Fair, Galle Literary Festival, we even have a Colombo Fashion week, but we do not have an international theatre festival, which is a real shame. If we want to learn about modern theatre trends, we desperately need to initiate a one and harness young talent according to modern theatre trends.”

However, Safeer feels that it is a project which should have been initiated by relevant authorities. He feels that it is the responsibility of the hierarchy and the cultural ministry to organise an international theatre festival of this calibre. Yet, since the initiation has not taken place till, Safeer and his team have taken the burden on themselves to launch the festival.

“We are small group; we don’t even have a proper financial sponsor for the project. But Sri Lankan theatre desperately needs an event of this magnitude and that is why with great difficulty, we decided to initiate such a project. I hope they will recognize the importance of this project and carry the good work forward.”

Dramatist’s restrictions

Safeer feels that Sri Lankan theatre is becoming obsolete. He feels that Proscenium stages that we use are no longer effective. “The theatre halls that we use restrict the dramatist. They are static and not movable. The dramatist should have the luxury to use the stage according to his own will and make full use from his creative prowess. But our stages do not allow the dramatist flourish in that manner.”

According to Safeer, our theatre culture is an obsolete one. “The world theatre has evolved a lot in past years. Dialogues and conversations are not the main elements in theatre anymore. The main tool in theatre should be your body; it is through your bodily movements that actors should express themselves.”

The productions from Germany, Australia, Iran, India, Indonesia and Pakistan will be showcased during the festival. The festival expects to educate Sri Lanka theatre lovers on contemporary theatre-trends. Apart from dramas, an interesting set of workshops will be conducted to educate the youth. The workshop will introduce certain theatrical trends which might be still alien to Sri Lankan theater lovers. These include discussions on, ‘Mix Ability Theatre, Object Theatre and Story-telling Theatre. Other than them, the workshops will also discuss about the technology in theatre in coming years, how it will influence the process of theatre making, etc.

The discussions will also be held on participatory theatre and its development across the past decade. The performances are set to happen at British School Colombo and workshops will take place on GOETHE Institut Colombo.

 

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