Pix : Sanka Vidanagama
Source: Sunday Times
Indika Ferdinando is a firm believer in and advocate of what he calls the magic of the theatre.
Steadfast in his views, he has little or no patience for what he calls the “lazy dialogue style” of drama that he has witnessed time and again. “I have no interest in going to the theatre, to see before me a picture or video of myself – or for that matter, anything that I am already familiar with. I want to see something different; or something that I am familiar with, shown in a different perspective, or given a new meaning,” he says firmly.
|Scenes from the play.|
This, it would seem is Indika’s challenge as a director – and definitely an important aspect of his upcoming production, Colombo Colombo, which is set to take the audience by storm on August 8 and 9 at the Lionel Wendt at 7 p.m.
Performed by eight experienced actors of Theatre Plus, a new theatre group, Colombo Colombo is its debut performance and promises to be a mix of experimentalism, realism, fantasy, music and yes, a little bit of magic.
The magic of course, is not of the supernatural kind; rather it lies in the art of finding new ways of representing reality. Says Indika, “I feel that the theatre industry at large has lost sight of some of the magic of drama and I want to try and bring that back.
To me, art is not realistic. Art should find a way to overcome all that is realistic, or to portray the realistic in a slightly different light so the audience is able to derive a new experience and learn something new when they see it. And that’s where the magic begins.”
Described as anti Aristotelian in nature – where the drama does not revolve around a single plotline but many, Colombo Colombo, is based on four separate incidents which turn out to be interrelated and reflect certain happenings around Colombo. Saumya Liyanage a well known actor in the local drama scene and narrator of Colombo Colombo reveals that the four scenes are constructed by use of diary entries.
Elaborating on this concept, Indika explains that the inspiration for Colombo Colombo came from the 2004 movie Crash, Rashomon by Akira Kurosawa and a few other works of fiction. “It took around two months of writing,” he says, “but even on completion, the script remains a work in progress as we make constant improvisations to it during the course of rehearsals.”
Apart from the relative challenge of an unconventional script, the actors are also faced with the challenge of not only having to act, but to sing, dance and play music as well. “I have had a great deal of experience in the theatre,” smiles Saumya, “but I can safely say that acting in Colombo Colombo is definitely one of the most interesting and yet challenging theatrical experiences I have had. Nevertheless, it is exciting and I speak for the entire cast when I say that working together has been a thoroughly memorable experience. We feel as a society, we are stagnated and isolated. In theatre, we feel that we are an important part of a community. For us, drama is all about the complexity of human relationships.”
Striving, as a dedicated group of actors, to show the audience the different identity of theatre as opposed to movies or teledramas, Theatre Plus seems to rely on the magic of theatre to build up this identity. They bring to life four or five different slices of life and work to show the audience how to apply different perspectives to their own lives. For them, that is just how theatre works.
Tickets for Colombo Colombo, priced at Rs. 500, 300, 200 and 100 are available at the Lionel Wendt.