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DateLine Sunday, 30 September 2007

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Blood Wedding :

Incongruity between love and marriage

Colombo Theatre Festival for Young Audiences

The Sinhalese translation of Garcia Loca's 'Blood Wedding' was one of the evocative dramas staged during the Colombo Youth Drama Festival. The drama has been translated into Sinhala by Kaushalya Fernando and Nadee Kamallaweera.

The story is woven around a wedding between a young immature youth and a girl who, as subsequently revealed, had been carrying on a passionate love affair with a married man, Lianado.

The story reaches its climax when the would-be bride eloped with Lianado on the wedding night, leading to a bloody knife-fight under the moon-lit heaven. The fight claims the lives of several youth including those of Lianado and the would-be bride-groom. The drama ends with a tragic note,the bride uniting with bride-groom's mother to lead lonely lives.

The Blood Wedding or 'Sandalaga Maranaya' is outstanding in terms of the use of imagery and symbolism. One of the recurrent imagery in the drama is a knives and cold death personified by a beggar woman.

"Even if I live for hundred years, I will speak about this (knife). First your father who was fragrant as a carnation" he lived with me only three years. Then your brother am I wrong.

How such small things like a knife or a pistol can destroy a strong man as strong as a wild buffalo! ...I will not be silent. Time passes on. Wretchedness sunk into my very bone marrow? says mother (brilliantly portrayed by Kaushalya Fernando) to her son, would-be bride groom Manaa. The life portrayed in the farming community is uncertain, faught with danger.

Would-be bridegroom?s father as well as brother was killed in knife-fights and it is suggested from the very beginning that the drama would end in tragedy.

Ironically it is a knife which claims the lives of the would -be bride groom and illicit lover of the bride.

In a way the knife is a potent image which sometimes uses as a metaphor for love that penetrates into the bone marrow.

Underneath the story lies the incongruity of marriage in a traditional context in which marriage is very often a forced union of mismatching couples. Here the issue is infidelity on the part of the bride who has a lover while betrothed to an innocent young man.

Conflict of interest intensifies as the guests enjoy the feast. On the very wedding night, the internal struggle between emotions and reason ends with emotion as the winner leading to a score of deaths in the moon-lit night.

One of the important features of the drama and even the series of productions at the festival was the high degree of dedication on the part of the cast which contributed to the overall success of the festival.

In the 'Blood Wedding' the Sri Lankan audience had rare opportunity of watching a matured portrayal of mother's character by Kaushalya Fernando.

Her acting was so natural that dialogues came out effortlessly allowing the director to derive maximum out of that character.

A mother is a pivotal character connecting the past and the present. Other characters which have been exceptionally portrayed were Lionardo and Bride whilethe rest of the cast also performed well making 'Blood Wedding' a memorable theatrical experience.

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India-Sri Lanka Goodwill Orchestra Concert in Tokyo

The Asia Orchestra Week, a festival of the foremost symphony orchestras of the Asia-Pacific region, celebrates its 6th season this year. Three orchestras from four countries have been invited to perform for the year 2007 as a part of the National Arts Festival sponsored by the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan.

Programs presented by these orchestras, which this year includes the KBS Symphony Orchestra from Korea and the Kunming Symphony Orchestra from China, combine the traditional classical repertoire with innovative contemporary compositions that often reflect their own national folk music.

The India-Sri Lanka Goodwill Orchestra Concert on October 4 will be held in honour of the India-Japan Friendship Year 2007 to commemorate the 50th year of the cultural treaty.

The Orchestra is a combination of musicians from India, Sri Lanka and Japan, who will perform for the first time as the India-Sri Lanka Goodwill Orchestra, under the baton of Maestro Yazaki, Hikotaro.

The Programme will be J. Brahms! Academic Festival Overture - Harsha Makalanda

Piano - Concerto for Piano and Drums of Sri Lanka - Svarasanga Vannama

Britten: Simple Symphony

Tchaikovsky: Fantastic Overture 'Romeo and Juliet'

Svarasanga Vannama is a feast of sounds for Orchestra, Piano and Local drums that alternates between improvisations at one time and folk rhythms at another. Harsha Makalanda, the composer is the piano soloist and he will be accompanied by Ravibandhu Vidyapathi on the Getaberaya and Jananath Warakagoda on the Tammattama.

The Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka is now in its 50th season and is delighted to celebrate its golden anniversary with the Asia Orchestra Week performance.

The Orchestra rehearsed under the baton of Ananda Dabare and Keiko Kobayashi, the assistant conductor to Maesto Yazaki. Ms. Kobayashi flew out to Colombo from Japan for three days of rehearsals before leaving for Delhi, where she will rehearse with the Indian musicians.

The musicians from all three countries will assemble in Tokyo on Monday for the first rehearsal as the India - Sri Lanka Goodwill Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Yazaki.

Harsha Makalanda (Pianist) is one of the foremost Sri Lankan artists whose activities cover jazz, pops and music direction and film music. In recognition of his work he was given the Bunka Prize by the Japanese Embassy.

In 1999, he was invited to perform at the 3rd Osaka Festival. He has also performed at the Sydney Opera House, ZDF in Germany, the Venice Film Festival in Italy, Jazz Yatra in Mumbai amongst others.


Walas Pawula (Bear Family) at Gampaha

The latest children's theatre production Walas Pawula (Bear Family) presented by the Lanka Children's and Youth Theatre Foundation (LCYTF) or better known as Play House Kotte, the leading children's play producer in Sri Lanka, will be staged on October at Yashodara Balika Vidyalaya,Gampaha at 10.30 a.m., 2.30 p.m. and 6.30 p.m.

Based on the fairy tale 'The Three Bears and Golldilocks', the script has been developed to suit the local audience by veteran children's playwright and theatre director, Mrs. Somalatha Subasinghe who is also the founder chief of 'Play House' Kotte. Walas Pawula is directed and choreographed by Dr. Chandana Aluthge, an artiste of the new generation groomed at the Play House Kotte.

Chandana, a Senior Lecturer in Economics at the University of Colombo, has been one of the senior members of 'Play House Kotte'. 'Walas Pawula' is the debut play directed by Chandana while he was the choreographer, lighting designer, and artistic director in several plays presented by the 'Play House' previously.

His skills in directing of stage lights and choreography has won many national awards for him and the outcome of 'Walas Pawula' will exhibit his choreographing, lighting and directing talents altogether.

Walas Pawula is a musical and the production style of the play has been developed so as to give the whole family an aesthetic journey of entertainment. Choreography, lighting, costumes, stage props, and music of the play have been carefully crafted to convey the children a sense of basic art forms and meaningful entertainment.

Walas Pawula cast comprises of Wishvajith Gunasekera, Sanjaya Hettiarachchi, Chamila Peiris, Prasanna Mahagamage, Niranjala Manjaree, Sharmain Gunaratne, Suresh Fernando, Mayura Kanchana, Nayomi Gunaratne, Geetha Alahakoon, Chamila Priyanka, Dinuki de Silva, Pramudi Karunaratne, Hiran Abeysekera, Ishara Wickramasena, and a number of new actors trained at Play House Kotte.

RC

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