Dreaming against unseen odds
Anil K. Wijesinghe
A review of the play Adaraneeya Vedilla
On May 14, Anil K. Wijesinghe brought to life on the boards at the
New Town Hall theatre Adaraneeya Vedilla. This stage play which was
scripted and directed by Wijesinghe dwells into a scenario set in the
underbelly of society where crime and immorality is deemed mundane. The
story unfolds in a slum where amidst raucous interplay between family,
friends and passersby a young girl much sheltered in her upbringing
discovers the awakening of love on a moonlit night when a young hoodlum
escaping the long arm of the law dives into her parent's shanty to save
The storyline in Adaraneeya Vedilla is one that seeks to give insight
to the drudgeries of the shanty folk who are part and parcel of today's
urban demography while also showing how the world of crime and danger is
somewhat an inescapable and perhaps even an inevitable shadow that
overcasts their chances of finding happiness. The tragic end that
befalls the young lovers indicates that to those who were compelled to
find their daily bread through a life of crime, very little redemption
can actually be hoped for.
story has been conceived to bring out a significant facet of the world
of the slums in relation to how their young and old view themselves with
respect to the interests that shape their generations. It is interesting
to note how pop culture Hindi cinema and the iconic screen stars of
Bollywood are talked about in raptures and their names adopted to refer
to personae in the slum neighbourhood itself.
The strong drive for escapism among the younger characters in this
story shows how great a place mass entertainment holds in their minds to
allow fantasies that transport them beyond their sordid reality.
On the matter of dialogue delivery there were a few slipups from some
players once or twice. however it must be noted for the record that it
was the very first performance of the play that I happened to watch -
the 3.30pm show; and opening night jitters, sometimes (as I have seen)
creep over even some of the very best of thespians.
observing the players on stage that afternoon there is no denying the
vein and enthusiasm for lively performance pervaded among the cast,
which was composed of - Roshan Polwattage, Mindula Mohottige, Dharmasiri
Gamage, Vishakha Jayaweera, Namal Surendra, Shehara Sachindri, Lakmini
Thilakarathna, Daminda Nandarathna, Kaumadi, Sanjaya, and Isuru.
This play offers a glimpse into the world of today's less fortunate
who live with a host of dreams and fantasies played off the grim and
often fleeting possibilities bound to the streets and slums. Sometimes
there hopes and dreams are pitifully fated to fade in the very quagmire
they dared to be born in.
And thus declare that to some of them, tragedy is their inescapable