15th July 2001
NEW YORK - Open air theatre is not new to Sri Lanka: the Vihara Maha Devi Park in Colombo and the open air theatre in the University of Peradeniya Campus.
But what is unique about the Public Theatre in New York's Central Park, founded by Joseph Papp in 1954, is that it is free. The Public Theatre/New York Shakespeare Festival stages Shakespeare plays every summer. This year's Shakespeare play is "Measure for Measure"? one of the Bard's famous "middle plays" written in 1604 for staging in the Globe Theatre.
Last week as the play opened amidst a drizzle it was announced that the role of Claudio would be performed that night by Sanjit de Silva and immediately a cheer went up from a section of the crowd including friends and well wishers from Sri Lanka. Sanjit's father, Luke de Silva of the United Nations and a former President of the Sri Lanka Association in New York and his daughter Dinushka, were among those present. For Sanjit, who normally played an attendant, was also the understudy for the role of Claudio and last week was his big chance. His acting was superbly professional as the impetuous young man condemned to death under the harsh law of the hypocrite Angelo.
In a finely nuanced performance Sanjit displayed a wide gamut of emotion from the despair over his situation, to the tender love for his Juliet, the hope that springs in him that sister Isabelle may save him and the guilt and remorse that he should want her to sacrifice her virtue for him. This was a well-paced performance that brought before American audiences the topical theme of the death penalty and last minute reprieves as well as the subject of sexual harassment.
A very high standard of acting all round saw Sri Lanka born Sanjit de Silva do more than hold his own in a company of outstanding professional actors. Dressed in the orange garb of a prisoner on Death row, (so familiar to US television viewers recently in the macabre media frenzy over the Timothy McVeigh execution) Sanjit handcuffed and legs in chains gave a well controlled performance. His experience on stage in plays like "Slagheap" "Syria/America" and "Hibakshu Outcry" and his acting in films like "American Desi" had no doubt equipped him for this his first major role in a New York production.
Sanjit will continue his acting career while pursuing a M.A. degree
in acting in New York University. Perhaps Broadway may soon have this first
Sri Lankan born star, only the second after jazz singer and actress Yolande
By Norm(an) De PlumeMost people can't wait to get their driving licence. I was one of the minority. Sure, I liked the idea of being behind the wheel, looking - or at least trying to look - cool in sunglasses etc. But I was more aware of the 'downside' to getting my licence. For one, I knew that my chances of being given the car for my needs would be extremely remote. I also knew that the odds of me having to chauffeur my parents around would be extremely high. Not surprisingly, I kept off applying for my licence as long as I could.
But once my A' levels were out of the way, the excuses dried up. I had no choice but to delve into the world of gear shifting, clutch balancing etc. which I did enjoy, except for the fact that malli thought it fit to help in the instructions. Well, he did have an early start in driving. He was sitting alone in the car pretending to drive when he was around four, and accidentally let go the handbrake. The car almost rolled down a steep slope, but for some quick thinking by my father.
Anyway, after a couple of weeks the State though me fit enough to drive, and gave me my licence. In fact, they thought that I was so good, that in addition to the licence for cars and dual-purpose vehicles that I applied for, I got a licence to drive lorries, heavy vehicles and the rest. So now I could drive, right? Wrong! Who cares whether the government authorities think I'm okay? No, the real authority to drive comes from a much higher source - you've guessed it -my parents.
My 'real' trial came a few days later. One evening my father asks me to come along to pick up my brother from tuition. Being a strong proponent of energy conservation (especially mine), I ask "Why should two people go along, when one can do it?" The answer was quite terse. "You drive, I'll watch." Believe me, it was a tenser experience than my official trial. Happily, after we had arrived home my father gave a little grunt as he got out - I had passed.
I've sat behind the wheel for a couple of years now, and I realise that luck is just as important as skill, given the complete free-for-all that is the driving experience in Sri Lanka. Some drivers use very simple rules - if you see a space, occupy it. And for some the existence of a double line means "Overtake! Now! Fast!" And it's just as bad with pedestrians. For example, overhead bridges appear only to be good for providing shade for people crossing the road directly underneath it. Last week I was in Kandy where an underground walkway had been constructed at some cost. Yet, you see people crossing the road above, where the traffic is the busiest and most confused. Needless to say one's use of profanities makes a steep climb once you get the licence to drive.
So here's a tip for 'green' drivers out there: assume that everybody else on the road is a complete idiot and play it safe. Do that, and you'll be around long enough to find out that you were right.
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The first thing you're likely to do if you wake up sniffling and feeling fatigued is reach for the vitamins. But, according to a new book, it's a good brush or massage that your body is in need of, not supplements.
Most of us forget that the skin is the body's largest organ and that it contains the lymphatic system, an essential part of our immune system and one of our most powerful defences against illness and disease. Whether we are sleeping, playing, working, watching television, eating, or exercising, the lymph vessels and nodes that lie beneath the skin are removing cellular waste and foreign bodies, draining excess fluids, fighting infection and repairing damage around the body.
This network despatches antibodies and removes toxins from the body's tissues, delivering them to various nodes or glands in the armpits, groin, behind the knees, and under the chin, where they are filtered out and destroyed.
"I'd estimate that about 50 percent of the population suffers from a weakened lymphatic system," says Dr Paul Sherwood, author of Get Well, Stay Well, which explores lymphatic health. "And trouble with it can trigger a whole range of seemingly unrelated complaints, including bronchitis, laryngitis, ear and eye problems, asthma, eczema, sinus trouble and cystitis."
Problems occur when the lymphatic system becomes blocked by an infection or overwhelmed with too many toxins.
"A congested lymph node will prevent the tissue fluid from draining, causing the tissues to swell," says Dr Sherwood. "And sluggish tissue circulation does not provide cells with enough nourishment, or protection against infection."
Depending on which nodes are blocked, your skin can become tired and grey in appearance, breasts can become tender, or you may develop acne or cystitis.
"If the lymph nodes of the lower part of the abdomen are congested, it can cause the membrane that lines the bladder to become swollen, leaving it much more vulnerable to bacterial infection," explains Dr Sherwood. "However, when the lymph nodes in the head and neck – that drain the face – are congested, the slight waterlogging of tissue can make the complexion dull."
Historically, massage and brushing the skin has always played a part in healthcare. The ancient Greeks provided massage in healing temples, and in AD600, the Indian physician Vagbhata advised regular massage in his text Heart of Medicine, recommending it as a cure for tiredness, poor eyesight, insomnia, and even flatulence.
Yet mainstream medicine has been slow on the uptake, according to Dr Sherwood, who began investigating the lymphatic system in the 1950s when he was a newly qualified doctor and noticed that many of the patients who came to him with sinus trouble, ear problems, varicose ulcers, and recurrent cystitis, had enlarged, hard lymph nodes.
"I've had an uphill battle with my colleagues, who generally dismiss it as not that important. That is, until they or their family start to have recurrent chest or sinus problems and then come to me for treatment."
Dr Sherwood is no crank. Indeed, the medical community admits that it has long neglected the lymphatic system's role in maintaining health. At Guy's Hospital in London, doctors recently conducted a study into the effects of leg massage on women complaining of lumpy, painful breasts. By firmly massaging the sides of the legs, they found that the lymphatic glands around the breasts were encouraged to drain away the toxic substances that often cause the problem in the first place. This is because the lymphatic reflex in the legs relates to the large intestine, the main organ of elimination, and is thought to trigger the drainage from it.
"Most women become terrified when they find a lump, but in over 90 percent of cases it is caused by lymphatic congestion rather than cancer," says Stephanie Mills, who runs a clinic where women can be taught to use the technique on themselves.
"We don't know exactly what causes the lymphatic system to become clogged, but we do know that this drainage system depends on movement to get around. Lack of exercise, lack of water - the majority of people I see simply never drink any plain water at all – and also underwired bras can all make this condition worse."
According to Mills, the metal wires used in many bras can irritate the lymphatic reflexes. Antiperspirants can block pores, and smoking and alcohol can also have a clogging effect.
Some conventional doctors are now incorporating massage or manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) into their care of cancer patients, using it to treat the painful condition of lymph oedema, the swelling of parts of the body caused by damage to the lymph system after trauma, surgery, or chemotherapy.
If brushing or massaging your skin for 10 minutes a day keeps illness at bay, it will also make you look better. According to Sherwood and other practitioners of MLD – the special movements used to scoop the lymph fluid toward the nodes – results in skin and eyes that look clearer and more youthful. Dee Jones, who treats her clients with MLD, says she notices huge changes in their appearance after only a few sessions. "Puffiness disappears, sinuses clear and colds can vanish," she says.
You may never need another vitamin again.
As he sat, arms folded, in a Los Angles hotel suite, comfortably dressed in jeans and a dark shirt, Duchovny met his interviewers with his usual mix of dry sarcasm and seriousness, pondering his next step, the future of The X-Files, and the meaning of mooning.
Did playing a government researcher opposite a sexy redhead in a movie about aliens give you déjà vu?
Well, now that you put it that way, sure. But when I decided to do the movie, Julianne [Moore] wasn't cast. When Julianne was cast, I was told she was going to be blond in it and that was probably a good idea. Then she stayed a redhead.
Do you worry you've been typecast in sci-fi because of The X-Files?
I don't think X-Files put me in a box. In any business, you are either getting out from under a success or a failure and I'd rather get out from under the success of something like 'The X-Files'. I've only been out of TV three weeks, because I did 12 episodes this season.
So, how'd this happen?
I wanted to do a different type of performance. 'Return to Me' was a light romantic comedy and I wanted a higher intensity, goofier, younger performance. I wanted to be tested, I was afraid to do it, and that's why I wanted to do it. I got home to read the script and said, "Man, it's aliens! I can't believe it."
But that didn't stop you.
For a moment, I stopped, but I reasoned, "I want to work with Ivan Reitman," and this script was a totally different genre. The alien coincidence was just a superficial one, like the colour of your clothes. I wanted to wear those clothes, I didn't care what colour they were.
Are humans finished evolving?
No, I don't think we ever will be. You're constantly evolving. Don't they say we'll lose our cutting teeth because we don't need to bring down game anymore? We'll just have molars as our heads get bigger and our bodies get smaller. So it could get ugly before it's all over. Are you in touch with your hairy man?
What about the scene where you moon us? Reitman said it was better than a special effect.
I had a prosthetic derrière attached.
Was it necessary to show your butt in this picture?
I thought having a naked butt and saluting would be funny. You try things, you don't know if it will play funny.
Halle Berry supposedly got 500 grand for going topless. Did you get extra for this?
Do you watch the X-Files episodes that you're not in?
Sometimes, if I'm home. If I have control of the remote.
Even though you were leaving, were you secretly crushed when Robert Patrick scored so well with viewers?
I wanted the show to continue and everyone to have a job. I wish them all success.
Do you ever worry you might someday be like Shelley Long, who left Cheers after five years thinking it was near the finish?
I'm not leaving because I think the show is ending, the show could go on for 20 years, but it wouldn't make me want to be on it. I'm sure Shelley Long would say the same thing. She made a creative decision — I don't know her, never spoken to her. I think X-Files is like Menudo, they could plug anybody in there.
Is it hard to walk away?
It is hard to walk away and that's why I'll miss Mulder. I miss having my own show. It's fun having your own show.
Did Gillian [Anderson] try to convince you to stay?
She's going through the same thing. We've been talking about it.
Do you worry that your career has peaked?
Any actor has to prepare for that. It's not just for a person leaving one job and going to another. Any movie actor has to be scared it's going to end. Look at John Travolta, it ended for him and he came back. Bonnie Hunt, who gave me the best advice: "You come in with your talent and you'll leave with your talent. We didn't make it and we can't take it away. You will land on your feet." You have to believe you'll land on your feet no matter what you do.
Would you ever go back to series television?
Never say never. But what I don't want to do, which is why I'm leaving The X-Files, is to do the same part over and over again, every day, every year. Not to say I wouldn't want to do a new guy. But I can't see that happening in the near future.
How are things at home?
It's been a little hard. Téa's been in New York doing the [untitled] Woody Allen film and I was able to go there for three weeks. I'll go to Europe to promote this and then have time back home.
Are you competitive with your wife? Who gets the most calls?
She gets the most phone calls. It's not all work-related. [Laughs] But she gets lots of phone calls. I don't think there's any competition. We're both doing well now, so that probably makes it easier.
You're fighting aliens in Evolution and your wife, Téa Leoni, is up against dinosaurs in Jurassic Park 3. Did you two compare notes?
No, we didn't. She'd never done a big special effects thing and wanted to try it. She had a great time, she loves throwing herself around and getting bruised. Not in real life. It was funny, The X-Files and Deep Impact came out at the same time and the review in The New Yorker said, "What must they talk about at home." But actually, we never talk about it.
How old is your daughter?
She's two. The running-and-falling-down stage. She has her terrible moments but is a pretty great kid. I love the perspective they give you.
Do people come to you often for advice?
It's hard to give advice. So much has to do with timing and luck and
hard work. I tell people if they love it, they should do it, because success
is not guaranteed. But if you're doing what you love, then you're OK.
A grieving dad whose four-year-old son drowned at a kid's birthday party thrown by Tommy Lee lashed out at the "irresponsible" rock wild man.
James Veres raged that the death of his son Daniel was "inexcusable". He accused Lee of failing to organize proper supervision of the children as they splashed in the backyard pool - and he may now hit the Motley Crue drummer with a multi-million-dollar lawsuit.
"It was a birthday party, just like a million others," Veres said through his tears. "But obviously there wasn't enough help at the pool."
"It was irresponsible. How can you have that many kids around and not have someone watching?
Tommy Lee fell apart after the tragedy at the Malibu mansion he used to share with ex-wife Pamela Anderson. It came during a belated fifth birthday bash for his and Anderson's son Brandon.
"Tommy was beside himself with grief and horror when little Daniel's limp body was pulled from the pool," said partygoer Janelle Harris, who found the boy dead in three feet of water.
"He was hysterical. He ran to the phone and dialed 911. A man and woman who knew CPR had Daniel on his back and they were desperately trying to resuscitate him".
"Tommy stayed on the phone and ran over to the couple as they worked on Daniel, frantically screaming out the orders he was getting from 911."
Harris, 20, says Lee yelled: "Turn him over on his side! Clear his mouth. One, two, three!" as the partygoers desperately tried to resuscitate the boy.
"Tommy was wide-eyed and choking back tears as he continued to shout: 'Why did this happen? Oh God, why didn't somebody see him?'" says Janelle.
"Police and paramedics were soon on the scene and took over. Tommy Lee was a mess. He was crying and could hardly stand up."
Pam Anderson was devastated when Lee called her with the tragic news.
"She couldn't believe it."
TV producer James Veres said Daniel couldn't swim. He and his wife-German actress Ursula Karven - let the boy go to the party with his nanny after they were assured he would be in a shallow kiddie pool.
Daniel played in the shallow end with his water wings on, a source said. He got out, told his nanny he had finished in the water, and the au pair took off his wings.
"The nanny then lost sight of him for a while," adds the source.
Paramedics believe the youngster was underwater for about 20 minutes, but no-one could see him because there were so many inflatable toys in the pool, says an insider.
It was only when Janelle Harris stumbled across the body that the full horror was revealed.
If the party had been two months later, Daniel would not have been there. ' Ursula and Jim planned to move back to Germany," a friend said. "They were going to lease their house and leave August 1."
Now Tommy Lee could find himself facing a lawsuit. L.A. attorney Bill
Lively said. "A person in Tommy Lee's position is vulnerable to a lawsuit
for negligence because everyone has a duty to use reasonable care to ensure
that harm does not come to a third party, in this case, the boy."
Martina, 20, is already talking marriage with prosecutor Chris Calkin, 31, after he helped get a two-year sentence for obsessed fan Dubravko Rajcevic, a Croatian-born naval architect, for misdemeanor stalking and trespassing, say sources.
"Martina and I have a personal relationship," Chris confides. "She's a fabulous lady and I'm happier than I've ever been in my life."
But attorney Frank Abrams, who defended Rajcevic, 46, said. "It's incomprehensible for a prosecutor to begin dating a stalking victim. My client feels humiliated that he's in jail for sending love notes and flowers to Hingis, while the prosecutor who put him there is probalbly doing the same thing."
But Martina, who is worth $90 million, couldn't be happier. She's invited Chris, who earns $40,000 a year, to visit her chateau in Switzerland - and join her at Wimbledon, which began June 25.
'Martina calls Chris her knight in shining armour," says a pal. "She's already telling pals that she thinks Chris is 'the one.'"
Cops arrested Rajcevic at the Ericsson Open tennis tournament in Florida last March. Martina reported that he'd shown up at her home in Switzerland and faxed her sickening love letters.
"Chris devoted himself entirely to the trial and prosecuted it brilliantly," says a source. "In the process, he captured the heart of the girl he was trying to help."
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