By Shabna Cader
Meeting up with Jehan Aloysius and the rest of the cast of The
Day Will Come, was a tad bit difficult, when considering the
fact that, the cast meets up only in the night for their
rehearsals, and I almost ended up getting lost in the dark of
the night, trying to find the location! Nevertheless, as I
walked into the rehearsals, all the cast members got the shock
of their lives; I had no idea why, until Jehan casually
explained that they have been talking about ghosts! Right, sorry
for walking in suddenly!
CentreStage Productions is now preparing to stage their next hit
production - The Day Will Come... which will go on the boards at
the Punchi Theatre, Borella, from June 12 to 15, 2008 at 7.30
p.m. The play, written and directed by Jehan Aloysius, was short
listed for the Gratiaen Award for Literature, in 2000, in a
collection of plays.
The theatre troupe’s recent successes include the sell-out
productions of Caliban’s Rebellion, Pyramus & Thisby, Bengal
Bungalow, Rag – The Musical and The Ritual – all of which have
enjoyed full houses and excellent reviews. In fact, their recent
production was sold out, including the extra performance night.
The cast is not too large and comprises prominent English
theatre personalities including Mohamed Adamaly, Prasad Pereira,
Rajiv Ponweera, Shanaka Amarasinghe, Natalie Blacker and Wanda
Godlieb, supported by Michelle Herft, Sashane Perera and
Geethicke de Silva.
Speaking with the cast, individually, they are so different from
each other, so in contrast that, it is difficult to imagine them
working together under one production. I’m beginning to think
Jehan has too much he can handle on his plate, but I’m convinced
otherwise, once I begin interacting them.
For Prasad Pereira, this is the first time he is working with
Jehan, though he has done dramas before. Speaking of the
character he plays, “Jehan’s description of Adam is a bachelor
with hope. He’s not a very strong character, but his presence is
felt in a very introverted manner, and my role is much a part of
the cast as the others. Jehan brings a very academic approach to
the drama, and it’s very interesting, as we are not
professionally trained actors but, with him, we are able to
train ourselves in an academic sense,” he said.
Rajiv Ponweera who plays the role of ‘Josephus’ said that his
“character is very reserved, but has much potential. He has a
son who provides for his needs and brings the elders in the
play, food supplies, which brings him a lot of pride. I have a
wife named Sophie, and we’re the only family structure visible
in the play. I haven’t worked with many of the cast members
before and during our rehearsals, there is always a lot to
The role of BM, also known as the Black Marketer, is played by
Geethicke de Silva. “My character is the youngest in the entire
play within the ages of 20-23. He supplies goods for the elders
and is a very impressive character, that does sometimes go over
the top. I have done drama before, a little bit, but this is the
first time I’m working with such a young cast. It can be a
little intimidating but, all in all, it has been a wonderful
experience” he said.
Natalie Blacker is generally known to talk of others, rather
than herself, but is quite open to being questioned. “I play the
role of ‘Sophia’, wife of Josephus, who, are both physically and
emotionally aged. She does everything she can for the group of
elders, but her efforts aren’t appreciated. I like working with
Jehan and his attention towards detail, it’s something I haven’t
experienced previously with other directors. The cast, on the
other hand, is quite nice. I’m very introvert, when it comes to
making friends but, I’m glad to say that I have made friends”
she said happily.
“My role is very complex and symbolic of other people’s darker
side. The reason I did this drama was, to work with Jehan; I
found him to be very theoretical and taps into drama in a way I
haven’t seen before. Of the cast, I must say that we don’t get
on everyone’s nerves and we complement each other really well,
though we are diverse and different from one another” said
Adamaly plays the role of ‘Abraham’, who seems to have assumed
leadership of the group. “He’s very analytical and very
observant and also, the only one who knows what’s going in the
outside world. Jehan has worked under me before, but this is the
first time I’m working under him. He’s authoritative and
diplomatic and open to ideas that the cast expresses” he said.
For Jehan Aloysius, “It’s been an exciting process, working with
such an experienced cast. I can honestly say that the actors fit
their roles perfectly. I guess, I’m very glad I’ve waited 14
years to produce this play, which I wrote when I was just 16! In
fact, this is the first of my four plays short-listed for the
Gratiaen Prize 2000 (in the manuscript ‘The Screaming Mind’)
that I have chosen to finally produce. As a director, I now feel
sufficiently distanced from the playwright, and am able to adapt
the script while rehearsing it. In a way, I feel I’m rewriting
the script, as I direct it, as all directors do in a way. I’ve
been doing a few light plays recently, so, I’m enjoying working
on this piece of serious theatre that makes people think.”
The play will go on the boards of the Punchi Theatre, Borella
from June 12 – 15 opening at 7.30 p.m.
Tickets for The Day Will Come..., priced at 750/-, 500/- and
250/- (balcony), are now available at the Punchi Theatre. So
rush now! Please call 2672121 for ticket details.
AGASTHI by Lalith
say a picture can say a thousand words; it is the same with a
well drawn cartoon. Not only can it convey the meaning but also
it can add meaning to an article.
In the early years of the 90s, the Nawaliya and the Vidusara
newspapers carried a series of pocket cartoons of this nature.
The cartoons which were created with just a few brush strokes
were really popular among the public. And the creator of these
cartoons received so much attention and it is through those
cartoons that the world got to know who Lalith Senanayake is.
Like many budding artists of his time it was the Diploma Course
carried out by the National Museum on traditional drawings and
other art traditions that enabled Lalith to improve his talents.
This Diploma Course was carried out by S.P Charles. He learnt
many things about art ranging from, modern art, art history and
When Lalith Senanayake entered the world of news paper, the
newspaper industry in Sri Lanka was undergoing a huge
revolution. It had started using computer based methods. Lalith
understood that through computer technology he could venture
into new things.
He took a course on professional computer graphic designing. The
final result was that he became a graphic artist for The Island
and the Diwaina newspapers. He did the cartoons for most of the
political columns of those newspapers. Those cartoons were very
popular among the readers. Some of the pioneers in this field
like, W. Wijesoma, Shantha K. Herath, and Janaka Rathnayaka had
provided him guidance and a lot of support.
During the time, when Upali Tennakoon was working in the
Lalith got the opportunity of working with him which eventually
led him into joining the Rivira newspaper. During these many
years of his career, he has created numerous paintings,
sculptors, and art works.
A collection of these brilliant art work and sculpts would be
exhibited at the Harold Peiris Gallery from June 12th till the
compendium on Lankan music
There is a fine compendium of Sinhala Music by the late singer
and researcher Devar Surya Sena. However, the large size book of
210 pages, replete with black and white 14 vintage photographs
and musical notations in Sinhala and English, is titled ‘Music
of Sri Lanka’. The book is published by Vijitha Yapa publishers.
The book has two appendixes and other pages, which give valuable
information about the famous Devar Surya Sena and Sinhala Music
The book includes apart from the Foreword, Preface, and
Introduction of ‘Music of Sri Lanka’, epilogue and other
details. The main subject is neatly described in two parts. The
respective chapters under these two parts are as follows: What
is Sinhala Music, Music in Early Times, Chanted Poetry Kavi,
Sinhala Folk Songs and Folk Drama, Viridu and Viraha, Modern
Sinhala Musical Drama, Sinhala Musical Instruments Kandyan
Music, Music of Ruhuna, Music of the East Coast Thamil Music,
Muslim Kavi and Folk songs of the Ceylon Moors and Music of the
Thus we see Devar Surya Sena’s pioneer work is an almost
comprehensive compendium of Lankan Music. As the blurb says,”
the greatest achievement of Devar Surya Sena was, in introducing
the hitherto little known traditional Sinhala Music, to the
people of Sri Lanka as well as to the rest of the world. As a
singer, he was famous in his homeland and in other countries”
One should thank the publishers and Devar Surya Sena Trust for
bringing out this book. Valuable information is given by Marina
Ismail in the Preface. The Introduction is an unsigned article,
which is also illuminating on the subject.
Who was this Devar Surya Sena? He was born on March 29, 1899 and
died in 1981. He has a Christian upbringing and yet his rooted
Sinhala consciousness was evident, in his practices. He was a
violinist and vocalist.
He was the son of the famous Sir James Peiris (Yasmine
Gooneratne has written an article on him. I cannot remember
where and when).
Deva was baptised Herbert Charles Jacob Peiris. A double
graduate (Arts & Law) of the Cambridge University in U.K., he
was also a nationalist and intellectual. His wife Nelun Devi was
also a participant in his musical performances. As this book is
written in English both local and foreign non- Sinhala music
enthusiasts would be enlightened, on what constitute Sinhala
Music. The book is worth possessing.
Noreen Welikala completes 50 years
Noreen Welikala, principal of Stafford International School will
be retiring after 50 long years of service to the school.
According to her it has been a splendid journey and along with
the students that came and went she too has learnt a lot.
The school has been through it’s rough times in the past but
managed to somehow survive and is now one of the leading
international schools. It was initially an all girls school and
was called Stafford Ladies College, however after the concept of
English medium schools increased rapidly, she too managed to
expand the school and it is now a co-education school.
“In my career, I have dealt with over two generations of
children, their parents who have entrusted their most precious
possessions to our care and of course the teachers who guide and
teach the children”, said the principal.
She added that one of the important lessons she has learnt
during the journey is that one needs to be firm but that a touch
of humaneness is an essence that is valued and appreciated.
“It has definitely been an enjoyable journey, every day that I
worked as a principal was memorable”, Welikala said. She added
that to have a successful career it also depends on the
environment, the environment in school was such that she was
able to spend 50 years as a principal. Every body in the staff
as well as the administration has been very enthusiastic and
appreciative in everything I did and have had a major helping
hand throughout these 50 years. Making fair decisions and
learning to stick to principles, is essential for any
institution to bear in mind, said Welikala.
When she began her career as a teacher she had no other option,
“those days teaching was the only job suitable for a girl, now
children have a variety of options and opportunities”, the
According to Welikala, before one does anything it is necessary
to have a conscience and if you follow that, things will go the
way you want them to.
Welikala studied in a school with high morals and values, she
gives credit to the school for who she is today. She studied in
Ladies College and the school has instilled in her, such
discipline that she was able to bring forward when she nurtured
an international school herself. Thus she is very grateful to
her Alma Mater and is proud to be a student of that school.
She is extremely grateful and thankful to all those who’ve
supported her throughout these long years of service. Especially
her husband Clarence Welikala, her two children, daughter in
law, senior teachers who have always supported the school and
given good results and the board of directors as well.
A novel needlecraft
Indumathi Paranavithana’s needle craft exhibition “Stitch
Fantasy” was held on June 6 and 7 at the National Arts Gallery,
Colombo 07. This is her third exhibition and included over 100
items. Indumathi Paranavithana displays her talents in
embroidery techniques like Ribbon, Brazeelian, Hardanger,
Crewel, Paper Tall and Paper Quilling, in her wide range of
unusual creations. Books written by her on various embroidery
techniques were also exhibited.