Rahas Udaviya to premiere at Lionel Wendt
A scene from Rahas Udaviya
Eminent novelist and playwright Piyal Kariyawasam's latest theatre
production 'Rahas Udaviya' (Secretive People) is to be premiered at the
Lionel Wendt Theatre on June 12 and 13 2012 at 7 pm. 'Rahas Udaviya'
(Secretive People) is his second autonomous stage play. The cast is with
national award winning actors Kaushalya Fernando, Chamila Peiris,
Anasuya Subasinghe and Gihan Fernando, it explores aspects of
contemporary urban middle class society in a post war condition.
Here are the excerpts of the discussion that Sunday Observer had with
Piyal Kariyawasam about his latest stage play 'Rahas Udaviya' (Secretive
"Through my latest production, I wanted to depict this 'moment' of
our society. 'Rahas Udaviya' is mainly based on four characters, three
female and one male character that are from the urban, middle class.
I understand them as Anarchists who don't agree with the existing
socio-political framework. Two daughters (Chamila Peries and Anasuya
Subasinghe) illustrate the duality of their mother's (Kaushalya
Fernando) past and future," starting the conversation Piyal Kariyawasam
briefed his latest production 'Rahas Udaviya'.
"After 30 years of war, we as a society still with an uncertainty. It
may due to the impact of the conflict situation and are plagued by many
incidents that resonate violence. Isolation, discrimination,
elimination, disappearance, and disposal seem to be ingrained parts of
society. Para-military groups and related activities continue
unhindered. In this situation women's condition subsequent to the war
has propelled, if at all, to a more vulnerable state. For example the
majority of war victims are women who are isolated in their lives
without their husbands and loved ones. Under this backdrop, three
members of an upper middle class family try to find solutions to their
personal, inner conflicts as well as the social conflict as experienced
in an urban context. I tried to portray this in three segments which is
outside the traditional theatre format which shift time and space.
Through this style I believe I could surpass the reality and I wanted to
criticise the traditional relationships rather develop the emotions
among the characters. As I believe if someone wants to stand against the
existing power politics that someone has to be an Anarchist who deserve
ambiguity which is not accepted by the feudal society," he stressed.
Gihan Fernando and Chamila
"Through 'Rahas Udaviya' I tried to stress, by this feudal condition
the only possibility lays to liberate the society is not the ones who
already victimized but the upper middle class society who are educated
and conscious to demonstrate the irony to escape.
In this critical situation the young two daughters are trying to
awake their mother who too was a radical thinker in her younger days,
but her radical, feminist approach gradually had faded away.
As per my observation this is a common ground reality considering
most of the intellectuals and many other radical thinkers who were vivid
characters in alternative political trends in Sri Lankan history, which
I see as a catastrophe.
As a dramatist I never tried to give solutions or present
socio-political ideology through my latest production.
However, by struggle with the existing condition would only create a
new socio-political discourse,"
"Other than that with emphasis on the aesthetics of theatre and
richly interwoven with traditional songs as well as new verse, 'Rahas
Udaviya' (Secretive People) uses aspects of magical realism as it
attempts to discuss contemporary issues transcending the barriers and
limitations placed by various social institutions and structures that
control free thought.
We have experienced some recent stage plays which discuss the
socio-political themes in extremely straight forward manner which I
don't believe is art. However, it happens if we are trying to illustrate
day to day socio-political situation. I deliberately wanted to avoid
this in the play and I used time shifting in to past, present and
However, I think this method should develop more in future and as
dramatists it's necessary to fine-tune this method further to discuss
socio-political themes through theatrical approach.
When considering the international theatre they could modify the text
to create strong political discourses through theatre while maintaining
the theatrical values. I have been reading many science fictions,
detective stories and many Latin American stories which have the
characteristics of magic realism. From all those novels, fictions that I
have read, I'd like to touch upon my themes by the approach of dark
I think dark comedy is a tactic which dramatists or artistes can use
to bypass conservative institutes," he said.
'Rahas Udaviya' (Secretive People) music is by Nadeeka Guruge, the
set design by Ruwan Bandara Narasinghe, song movement design by Namal
Jayasinghe, lighting design by Bandula Hewage, make up by Priyantha Siri
Kumara, stage management by Sanjaya Hettiarachchi, stage management
assistance by Sumedha Haggalle, prompting Poojana Dandeniya and Ruwan
Deshapriya, still photography is by Rasika Surasena, videography and
design of publicity material: Madhawa Nagahawatta, costume design &
production management done by Gaya Nagahawatta and script & direction is
by Piyal Kariyawasam. 'Rahas Udaviya' is co-funded by the Sunethra