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Sunday, 27 September 2015

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Answering the call of his passion

Playwright Aslam Marikar talks to Dilshan Boange about his new play and themes inspired by the newspapers:


Aslam Marikar

With a passion for drama and theatre nurtured from his school days at Trinity College, Aslam Marikar, the 29-year-old Kandy based theatre practitioner, is committed to developing a career as a playwright and director. Having taken part in school productions such as 'Macbeth', 'Hamlet', and 'Julius Caesar', Marikar went on to claim the award for Best Outstation Actor for his portrayal of Brutus at the All Island Interschool Shakespeare Drama Competition in 2005. His contributions as a drama director at school level include work for Trinity College, Girl's High School Kandy, and Gateway School productions.

Marikar was in the Asian School of Media Studies in Noida, India, studying film for three years when he realised theatre was his calling. In 2014 he presented to theatregoers his first full length play -'Twenty First Century Monk'.

After a successful round of performances in Kandy, Marikar together with the Sri Theatre Company is bringing his latest play to Colombo- 'It's all Amidst'. This is Marikar's second full length play and it will go on the boards on October 9, at 7.30 p.m. at the Punchi Theatre in Borella for theatregoers in Colombo. Here, this emerging young drama director discusses a bit about his background in the sphere of stage drama and his ongoing work.

Q: What is your background in drama and theatre? How did you get started as a theatre practitioner?

A: My background to drama has always been the political landscape to which this generation (post republican) was born into. Our news stations seem to be producing a soap opera that I would like to call The Game of Legacies, where all talk and no work seem to be an unnatural (for the species) but successful (for a certain verity) state of affairs. I personally feel that considering our modern times all toiling hard in this country have a very good background to drama. But theatre is different. Theatre is a profession and it took me and still does, a lot of tight rope walking to come to terms with. My first experience with theatre happened while at school, we had an awesome clique of friends that took the extracurricular activity seriously. This made it easier as theatre is a collective art form. From there on my inquisitiveness took the better of me and to satisfy this urge to understand the craft I took to studying it abroad.


Scene from Itís all Amidst .

Q: What are the themes and subject matter you deal with as a playwright?

A: As a playwright I refrain from thinking on those lines. I do not find it helpful. Maybe a literature teacher would find such a topic an interesting discussion, but then I don't teach. I believe that you just have to write and your themes will appear. As for subject matter I read the newspapers.

Q: What is the theme and plot of your latest play 'It's All Amidst'?

A: 'It's All Amidst' is about a young couple having to cope with family problems in order to be together. It's a very simple plot but I have tried at including a lot of Sri Lankan political inconsistencies in a most appropriate fashion. This is not an abstract sort of play. It is very straight forward. If I was to arrogantly tag its presentation on my own I would call it a 'Naturalist' play.

Q: How do you think the response will be from theatregoers in Colombo to this production?

A: Colombo city is always craving for something 'new and exciting'. In Colombo going to the theatre is always on the list of someone's weekly activities. It is also the largest available crowd you can perform to.

This play is an original (hence it's new). The story is not some play you might find in your library or watch on the internet. It's an original so the level of expectation will be high throughout the performance. Also since it is relevant to our surroundings the story will collide head on with your opinions and that is definite to heighten your experience.

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