Source: The Nation
Play House - Kotte, the leading Children’s theatre, presents a two day Theatre Festival for the young Audiences on December 5 and 6, 2008, at the Lionel Wendt at 3.30 p.m. and 6.30 p.m respectively. The theatre’s latest creation ‘Walas Pawula’ (The Bears and Goldilocks) as well as the well received Punchi Apata Den Therei (We Know It Now) and “Toppi Welenda” (The Hat Seller) will be showcased on these days.. The festival is sponsored by the HNB Assurance PLC (for the third consecutive year) to promote Children’s Theatre in Sri Lanka and thereby contribute to the well being of the country’s future generation.
In a socio-cultural situation where there is little patronage for good theatre for children and youth, the support extended by HNB Assurance PLC to hold a two-day theatre festival for children is commendable. Tickets for the festival have been priced at affordable rates with a view to reaching a wider audience.
The Play House - Kotte has been organising festivals of theatre for children and youth annually for the last twenty-five years. The institution was established in 1981 by Somalatha Subasinghe to further the cause of Children’s and Youth Theatre in Sri Lanka. The institution was incorporated (as Lanka Children’s and Youth Theatre Foundation-LCYTF) in January 2007 under the Act no. 3 of 2007 enabling it to expand its mandate. In its journey over the past 27 years the Play House Kotte has been able to produce a repertoire of plays for children and youth of a high artistic quality. Some of these productions have been internationally acclaimed. The festival of theatre in December can considered a joint effort by two acclaimed institutions which are working towards to promote social welfare and reconciliation through their chosen fields of activities.
‘Walas Pawula’ is an adaptation of a popular fairy tale ( Goldilocks and the Three Bears’) while ‘Punchi Apata den Therei’ and ‘Toppi Welenda’ are based on well-known international folk stories. All plays are produced as musicals and in the adaptations, new characters and situations have been incorporated particularly to communicate with the Sri Lankan child. The production style of the plays has been developed so as to give the young audiences as well as the whole family an aesthetic journey of entertainment.
Choreography, lighting, costumes, stage props, and music of the plays have been carefully crafted to convey to the young audience a sense of basic art forms and meaningful entertainment. The music enhances the sense of beauty of the visuals generated on stage by the professional theatre group of the Play House Kotte. The composition of music of these dramas has been based on our traditional melodies which are modified and adapted to the present context. The language of these theatre pieces is both musical and performance based. They have been developed in a manner to inculcate in children a sense of pride in their own culture as well as to promote the importance of the institution of family and its values. The lessons of love, humanity and care for nature refreshingly presented in the plays, are thought provoking, and facilitate an intellectual and entertaining discourse with children.
Both plays are written by Somalatha Subasinghe. ‘Walas Pawula’ is directed and choreographed by Dr. Chandana Aluthge and Punchi Apata Den Therei and Toppi Welenda are directed by Somalatha Subasinghe. Music for Walas Pawula is by Tharupathi Munasinghe and M. R. Chulasinghe has composed music for the other two plays.
The cast of the musicals comprises: Wickrama Seneviratne, Rohitha Karunaratne, Wishvajith Gunasekera, Sanjaya Hettiarachchi, Shamaine Gunarathne, Suresh Fernando, Pujitha de Mel, Dilum Buddhika, Dinuki de Silva, Pramudi Karunarathne, Mayura Kanchana, Namal Jayasinghe, Geetha Alahakoon, Ishara Wickramasene, and a number of new comers trained at Play House-Kotte.