celebrates 50 years
Commemoration on the
April 4 at John de Silva
The popular stage play Naribena of renowned
dramatist Dayananda Gunawardena which went on boards
for the first time on March 1, 1961 completes 50
years this year.
To commemorate this milestone, Nalu Keerthi Sabha
Theatre Group set up by the late Mr Gunawardena has
organised a special performance of the drama and
principal addresses by eminent Professor Tissa
Kariyawasam and renowned film and theatre
personality Jackson Anthony.
The event is scheduled for April 4, 2011 at the
John de Silva Theatre at 6:45 pm. Chairperson of
Nalu Keerthi Sabha Mrs Irangani Gunawardena said
that this commemoration ceremony is open to all
theatre enthusiasts. “Even after Dayananda
Gunawardena’s untimely demise, this masterpiece has
continued to entertain both the young and the old
here and abroad for the last 50 years due to the
relentless dedication and hard work of artistes,
musicians, singers, technical staff and organisers,”
At the time he wrote Naribena which was based on two
folk tales, he was working as a Geography teacher at
Kegalu Vidyalaya. Later it was staged as a school
production at Thursten College Colombo on November
Music was composed for the play by Lionel Algama
while choreography was by Basil Mihiripenna.
Following its maiden public performance in 1961,
Naribena staged by the Amateur Theatre Society
passed its 100th milestone appearance within one
year and eight months.
Naribena became an instant favourite in the 1960s
and was highlighted in the media at the time as
having been viewed by every 125th person in the
country. The band of viewers was further broadened
when Naribena was staged in Tamil as ‘Nari Mapulai’
Later, in 1978 under a Cultural Exchange
Programme, this play was translated to German and
was staged in Western Germany with German actors and
actresses directed by Dayananda Gunawardena. This
play has also been included into the Sri Lankan
The cast includes Bandula Wijeweera, Rodney
Warnakula, Neil Alles, Sarath Kulanga, Rathnasheela
Perera, Ferni Roshini, Kumara Liyanage, Indika
Jayasinghe, Indika Ramanayake, Shalika Wanigaratne,
Kanthi Jayawickrema, Sujani Nisanka and Mahesh
Amarakoon. Music direction is by Pubudu Roshan
Walpita. Stage management is by Asoka Jayasinghe and
makeup is handled by Prakash Galgewela.
For further information: Wasantha Gunawardena (0777
Balloon Festival 2011
By Sarasi Paranamanna
The Hot Air Balloon Festival is to conclude with a
display of all the balloons that flew in the
festival. The balloons will be showcased at 7 p.m.
on April 1 at Independence Square which will surely
be a treat for the eyes as the balloons are to be
displayed like massive lighted up bulbs.
More than forty balloonists participated in the
fourth hot air balloon festival which commenced from
March 19, 2011. As an addition to the ‘Visit Sri
Lanka’ year calendar the hot air balloon festival
was organised by Ceylon Air Ship and Balloon Club (CABC)
in association with the Sri Lanka Tourism.
This year the festival featured a balloon designed
and produced by Sri Lanka and an Alaskan company.
“The hot air balloon is named ‘Alaska’ and we are
hoping to fly it at this year’s festival,” said
Captain Anil Jayasinghe, CABC Chairman. Participants
from Japan, USA, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Sri
Lanka attended the festival and steered 15 hot air
balloons which glided over the beautiful vast lands
from Sigirya to Jaffna.
The festival, which kick started in 2003 pioneered
hot air ballooning as a great adventure sport and an
opportunity to see the beauty of Sri Lanka from a
different angle. This festival is the first event of
this sort happening in South Asia. “This sport is
still new to this part of the world and being a
niche sport and also due to investment costs the
sport is practiced only in certain countries still,”
said Capt. Jayasinghe.
The fourth annual hot air balloon festival was held
in two phases. The first phase was held on March 21,
22 and 23 and the second from March 26 – 27. The
flying sessions were held in Jaffna, Down South and
Sigiriya. “This year we can fly over a free Sri
Lanka and visit areas which were not accessible
earlier due to the internal conflict,” said Capt.
Jayasinghe at a press briefing held prior to the
festival. However, he quipped that hot air
ballooning was not possible in the areas of Colombo
due to congestion.
This year the balloon festival offered rides to the
public to get a taste of this niche sport and to
enjoy the expanding views of Sri Lankan scenic
beauty from the sky.
By A. F. Dawood
Oh! ubiquitous mosquitoes,
Mankind’s sworn enemy;
Though but a dot compared to man
With whom you have waged war
To snuff out their life with venom
Perennial is your battle with man
Whose blood you suck with tiny pincers;
Your attack a devastating blow to humanity
And man is vanquished in the battle.
Blame we the Creator
For the blatant injustice to us.
Nectar in flowers for bees and butterflies;
Grains and fruits and insects for birds;
Grass and foliage for beasts in. the wood;
So on what victual do we subsist?
Save man’s blood on which we feed.
So huts, houses, gardens we invade,
Buzz and buzz and sting them for blood.
Man has used coils and sprays
And fumed his abode with burning leaves,
But we little creatures have overwhelmed
Oh! odious mosquitoes, a menace to mankind,
You prick and suck the blood of all and sundry
And babes in arms sans an iota of compunction,
For your goal is to wipe out humanity.
Guns and bombs and swords of man
Not a match to your vicious force;
Your three pronged attack Malaria, Filarial, Dengue
Could put the Country’s Force to shame!
To overcome the horror of mosquito havoc
Man should rise from his slumber of indolence
And promote a pollution free environment.
Stagnant water, clogged drains, garbage heap
Should be wiped out from the face of the earth.
Then man can conquer the mosquitoes,
And that would be mosquitoes doomsday.
And the end of old
him – and you must – and you can now read close on
fifty of his poems he claims are his Letters From
Far Away. Letters... or a flow of thoughts,
meditations, obsequies, the telling of the
dissolution of sorrow, the end of old beginnings,
long fiery draughts of an ocean that is life and
blank sheets of rising dawns...
Yes, meet Derrick Gamini Pieris Seneviratne – a poet
I have been privileged to know for ever so long;
whose ever impending exhalation of spirit has found
his lines in so many anthologies, and I would list
them all if I were given leave to do so. But, as he
in An Epilogue (p. 4) says:
“… we did not seek to weave
old threads into new patterns: common sense
demanded that we build anew
and sentiment could not resist it since
we stood on a concrete experience.”
This is Gamini, and it was in November 2009 that his
Letters From Far Away were read, proof-read, and
published in greater part by his wife, in whose
memory this, his Requeiescat (p.7) spins forth:
will be like again tomorrow
she will die with me
Sweet faces skirts under falling leaves
in the windy avenue at noon down the school land
She should have lived
a little longer, till the buildings changed
and the places disappeared where the hours speed
young with us under the awning, down the by-path
to breed brats
Myself, I should not have committed this death; but
strangely, I survived.
let her be born again
Justice pleads that yesterday was blind.
To take this collection is to render a fresh
twilight that offers a cleavage in the air-blue sky
above and the rosary in a nun’s hand. There is a
quality of magic and a seeking for echoes and the
silence of doom. Allow me to offer readers a bowl of
so many sensations:
(1) She writes to me, I think. Our letters cross
as the mood takes us. The wrong letters cross.
Thoughts lapse into old patterns in the stagnant
routine of the ring –
feint swing clinch break and once again
feint. No questions, no replies.
Nobody wins. Jeers-
without? within? Echoes in the emptiness;
Everybody’s gone to bed. Shadowless
under phantom lights we play in the invisible ring.
tell us - this Shakespeare,--
who was he? (Waiting for Ariel - p.2)
(2) Poor flesh
God’s body is made bread in the fruit of meditation
for an exultation of the spirit deflowers the single
man transmigrates the soul to animal decay and when
the green awakens
to leaf on bare shoulders, fulfils with putrid scent
the queen of the night.
(Meditation – p3)
(3) ... Writing now at the end of years with only a
tickling ember of one’s hurt one could not feel, so
much, remorse for what in social terms it meant, nor
any regret for the inundated paradisial isles; only
wonderthat beauty is born of friendship and those
tears weren’t vainly shed for the innocence we lost
the beauty that in innocence we squandered.
It seems born again now of stony-hearted days since
love was castrate, beauty self-confined
the word compressed in the folds of desire;
indifference in its vacuum refined.
The virgin thought we were so loath to learn
indenting it on time’s grim pock-marked face
to prove that passion breeds nothing to admire
and showed us the ways of beauty which is stern.
(Lines from The Second Coming - p. 8)
Do we see a sudden onrush of newer understanding
tinged with old-young regret? Let’s take the
end-lines of yet another, shall we:
…Tears at departing ties one’s own life close, it
rises to skin-deep; pores tear
Love lingers like the earth,
Hills and cities peddle fantasies
The dawn will lift. (From Parting at Dawn - (p.10)
His Paterfamilias offers four poems – the first For
Arjuna, his son, accosting a portrait of Dorian
I can see the charm of my figure
in your face, son.
Time will invest your figure with the changes that
Let growing up, for you be as a seasoning of hard
wood the hardwood that my face in your figure
sometimes sees which your eyes on me
must less and less detect.
The next is for his brother, titled Maiyya, which
offer what will and must come to be when all the
astral intersections, curves and consequential
tangents slide into space:
... You are still child, son,
freed by the rude beam of your brother’s oak
on which your parallels roll to infinity,
whose intro-linear graphs provide
nodes for tangencies.
The third is for his daughter Nanga and again we
find a new making of love as though the times are
now upon the poet to nerve himself to the fatherhood
he near forgot to give:
And you my daughter, for whom
I have had so few words, survive the collapse of my
There will be voices sweet with singing, voices
sweet singing in the garden, through a high window
as now, in my mind, for you, as you lie asleep
I see you awake, dark-eyed, your raven hair,
in the arms of a careful mother.
Am I aggrieved, though, though there has been little
conversation between us, as befits
father and daughter?
The fourth tells of naught but himself and of
devouring nights, tired headlights, hither and
thither, country-sides, and sentiment, hunger and
the profanities of ill-spent days. Readers will find
these Letters From Far Away projecting the very
unconnected corridors of his life. He has to tell of
what of what it has been to await the anguish of
dying as well as the choking of life. We find these
lines in Living, where he asks:
“Do the stars muster configurations to tug at the
threads that bind this life to this body?” (p.17)
I could go on, and there is so much more, but a few
here-and-there lines carry so much:
… How deep beauty is. How grave our need. How swift
to die. Thank you Lord, for this goodbye. (Beauty -
Take Gamini Seneviratne the way he now wishes to be
taken. He has put every piece of life’s jigsaw
together and in so doing has sought the glow of
newer moons, brighter suns, an aptitude to live in a
frame of ivory leaf and jasmine. Nothing can now
make a new youthfulness retreat. He has spread his
sorry make-up far and seen the new-life sensations
return like a bowl of cascading flowers.
This is the man who was published in Young
Commonwealth Poets ‘65, Heinemann, London – He was
edited by Lakdhasa Wikkramasinha, Kandy, 1971 –
Yasmine Gooneratne in Poems from India, Sri Lanka,
Malaysia and Singapore, 1979 – The Journal of South
Asia Literature, edited Ranjini Obeysekera,
Michigan, 1987 – Oh, so much more ... and now a
newer Gamini awaits you. Read him ... Seek him out.
|Kaffir Sthrella to fly with
ThIDORA Theatre Sri Lanka to be proudly presents
‘Kaffir Sthrela’ the maiden musical album of ‘Ceylon
Kaffir’ which will be highly demanded.
ThIDORA has been working with differently-abled
persons for many years as well as the less
privileged sections of society to develop their
skills in the field of arts. Now, for the first
time, Ceylon Kaffir’s unique blend of music is sung
in a language which is a mix of an African dialect
as well as Portuguese. It is been recorded to be
released as a music CD in an attempt to further
popularise their melodies.
The community Kaffir was brought to Sri Lanka from
South Africa by Portuguese during the time
Portuguese ruled this island nation. As a result of
the vibrant diversified customs and rituals of Sri
Lankans this community still exists with their own
culture in Sri Lanka even after more than 500 years
though the no of heads are less than 200.
Along with the release of the maiden musical album
of Ceylon Kaffir’s there to be staged a cultural
performance named ‘Kaffir Sthrella with Butterflies’
choreographed by Ramani Damayanthi. Music directed
by Janaka Fonseka. The event was sponsored by Centre
for Poverty Analysis and to be staged on April 5 at
7:00 p.m. at the John De Silva Memorial Theatre,
Those who wish to have more information, please call
Rohana Deva on 0718113515. Please log on
www.thidoratheatre.org for details of the institute.