Source: Daily News
Child abuse, one of the major problems faced by the people of outback villages in Sri Lanka, is the thread of the drama
Forum Theatre is still alien to Sri Lanka. It normally speaks of a common social issue prevalent in a certain society.
The plot is scripted focusing on the worst outcomes of these social problems. The effect of the drama enlarges as the drama is shown to the community to which this experience is not alien. The objective of this exceptional move is to build a social discourse within their community and find solutions without the intervention of an outsider.
Once the play is performed actors re-perform it so as to invite the audience to get involved in the plot. The audience is now allowed to make changes in the plot avoiding the negative consequences from occurring and establishing a happy ending for the play.
Sri Lankan society appears a breeding ground for certain social issues. People can be educated and such social issues would be remedied to a satisfactory extent if Forum Theatre is made popular in the educational institutes of Sri Lanka.
British Council was the first to introduce this concept to Sri Lanka as a post tsunami project. The British Council incepted Shakthi Forum to promote this concept in Eastern and North Central provinces. The group comprised 25 members of Sinhala and Tamil communities.
At the inception Shakthi Forum Theatre Group performed their plays to the communities in outback villages. They have already visited Switzerland to perform their play on the invitation of the British Council in Switzerland. The play performed in Switzerland was staged recently at the British Council, Colombo on their return.
About the play
The woes of war are nicely depicted on stage as to convince the root causes behind child abuse. The drama begins with people running to and fro to escape shelling and bombing. A man who is a father to a girl falls dead. His child and family under go untold hardships due to financial problems.
The child, Kumari, was crying over books and other materials to continue with her education. Meanwhile, a woman who worked aboard, most probably in the Middle East, returns to the village. Seeing the problems faced by the mother and Kumari the woman helps Kumari’s mother to find employment abroad. So the social security provided by a mother to a child is lost to this child. Her grandma takes over the maternal role. Kumari goes to her friend’s home to study for her upcoming examinations. The house was deserted except for her friend’s father, a drunkard. Kumari is raped by him.
Knowing what happened to Kumari, her grandmother decides to force her into marriage. Her education comes to a standstill. Her husband is also a heavy drinker and torments the young lass even when she becomes pregnant.
The drama was scripted through experience. The members of Shakthi hail from outback villages in the country.