A rainbow coalition
of drama enthusiasts
The atmosphere was electric."I wanted to reach out
to the children at the grass root level. I wanted them to come here
to this workshop and develop their self-expression and learn more
about the wonderful world of drama," says Somalatha Subasinghe,
the resource person of this workshop, and whose brainchild this
together with the German Cultural Institute and the Cultural Ministry
and of course with the help of my organization, the Lanka Children
and Youth Aid Organization, I decided to finally implement my plan,"
she adds. "The plan was to get a number of children from all
over Sri Lanka and have a drama workshop and help them develop dramatic
skills and teach them how to express themselves."
all around, were in a world of their own. A world that consisted
of drama and what more but drama?
This was a
rainbow coalition of diverse people who had come together for the
intoxicating cause of drama.
always wanted to organize something, which would be of help to children.
That is by way of recreational activities. I wanted to have some
sort of school or class, where I could just get the students together,
and teach them that there is much more besides the competition of
daily life, she explained.
what I really wanted was to get the children from all over Sri Lanka
and do something productive with them. But, until now I was never
able to manage to get this organized as the Education Ministry has
never been cooperative and they were never interested."
Her break came
with the German Cultural Institute which is sponsoring the whole
workshop, and the Cultural Ministry which involved themselves to
such an extent, that they organised people to come from all the
cultural centers all over Sri Lanka.
together 30 people from all over Sri Lanka. Twenty people are from
the cultural centers whom I contacted through the Cultural Ministry,
five are from the Town Hall Foundation Drama School, three from
Jaffna, one from Batticaloa and one from Trincomalee. The participants
from Jaffna, Batticaloa, and Trincomalee are from the Centre of
Performing Arts which has branched itself out to all these areas
under the direction of Father Savari," she said.
The whole workshop
lasted three weeks. Throughout the workshop the participants learnt
the basic techniques about drama and they learnt to develop them.
The first technique they were taught was the free movement technique,
in which they learnt to let the music take control of their actions.
It was then that the students started moving to the music. They
were initially lying in the posture of dead bodies and then Somaltha
instructs them to wake up. The waking up procedure was slow, yet
breathtaking. The movements were graceful and delicate. The music
changes. They make contact with the person close to them, and then
after the initial stages of friendship, the hatred sets in. Finally,
the atmosphere is calm again, after the turbulence and they finally
come to peace with each other. All this is done without a single
word spoken by anyone; only through the movement of their bodies
and their facial expressions.
The next item
on their agenda was puppetry. The stage was set up within seconds
and the puppets were on stage acting out little plays, which dealt
with serious issues. The issues were of friendships blossoming among
Tamils and Sinhalese . The puppet representing the Tamil person
was handled by a girl who had come all the way from Jaffna.
workshop has certainly been useful," was what Ganageshwaran
from Trincomalee had to say, while A. D. Subooshini agreed. "We
learnt to be at ease with the Sinhala participants, and though we
could not communicate with them language wise, we communicated through
our love for drama."
from areas where the war has been raging until recently, and we
are glad to say that we can go back to our towns and teach other
children affected by the war, something to love and enjoy,"
said another participant.
race being no barrier these participants made sure that they shared
their knowledge with everyone, keeping in mind that what brought
them together was their love for the most important thing in their
Senanayake does his bit for peace
Brushing away sadness, negativity
By Thiruni Kelegama
His works are not simplistic as presented to the viewer.
Deeply implied within them is his credo. He knows so. The tradition
of Sri Lanka with its crafts oriented industry and the ancient mural
traditions all have their bearings on the works of Senaka. He juxtaposes
light and dark shades to enhance his own style and personal technique.
primarily consists of circular or oval areas of light and darkness.
It has the quality of imparting movements, making the work style
organic,"he says. The circular style he has developed, has
evolved for three reasons: it creates movement, it creates dimension
and it shows the continuous motion of life.
experimented with many different styles and done many kinds of diverse
paintings. The revolutionary themes, the story of Buddha's life,
abstract, and environmental issues are some of the issues I dealt
with." Talking about the recent exhibitions he held in India
Senaka says, "This time I decided to draw from my imagination.
I focussed mainly on the idea of peace, and a whole new prosperous
world. I wanted people to get away from the sadness surrounding
us and to get away from the negativity which is a main part of our
piece of this exhibition was a painting which was in three parts.
It was a continuation, and I drew a pond full of lotuses,"
says Senaka pointing at a photograph of the picture. "I focused
on the lotuses because, they are an essential part of Buddhism,
and I am focusing on Buddhism here. I am also talking about peace
and how it must become an integral part of our lives."
To have found
a place of honour in the Delegates Lounge of the United Nations
General Assembly in the capacity of a child artist to paint the
mural there alongside two major Modern artists, one can safely say
that Senaka was born with a brush in his hands.
exhibited in India, Senaka certainly has proved that he is an artist
in a class of his own. "I have exhibited in India, as a child
artist way back in 1966 and it certainly was a pleasure to exhibit
which were sponsored by Apollo Educational and Research Foundation,
were held in Chennai at the Senate House and in Delhi at the India
Habitat Centre. "The exhibition in Chennai was beautifully
done. It was held in the evening and since it was an open air exhibition
the streets in the area were lit up. A single lamp lit up each of
the paintings, and just before the opening. I released two white
doves hoping for continuous peace in Sri Lanka."
This had been
the preview for the main exhibition, which was to be held in Delhi.
exhibition, I focused mainly on positive themes. I used themes from
nature, and tried to portray life in the simplest manner possible.
I wanted people to try to forget all the misery around them, and
focus on the simple joys in life. I wanted them to feel as if they
were in another world. I hope I was successful in achieving this,
said Senaka. Another picture was a painting titled "Pinna Patha".
Though the presence of Buddha is not directly felt, Senaka has managed
to create a spiritual ambiance that is meditated and represented
by a group of monks with a female devotee interceding with utmost
reverence. This dimension of sanctity and hallowedness is reinforced
by the stupa in the background. "The sanctity has been enhanced
with the white transparent bubbles within which the heads are contained
instead of the usual halo. I think the bubbles tend to highlight
and strengthen the main protagonists,"explains Senaka.
of his is visible in every painting of his in this exhibition. The
factor tends to reinforce Senaka's philosophy wherein every life
on this earth is precious and should not be mindlessly destroyed.
It is also obvious that Senaka is at home with peace and harmony
loving creatures that inhabit the earth. And every brush stroke
is caressed in a way that bespeaks of the joy and happiness that
animates his creations, making it possible for the viewer to share
So how did
he feel about returning to India after all these years? "I
am delighted with the response I got from the Indians. They really
appreciate art, and I am not only talking about connoisseurs. I
am talking about students, and people from all walks of life. They
are very supportive and their attitude is encouraging," he
to have another exhibition in India next year in December. However,
my next exhibition will be in Korea in March, and this way I hope,
that I am paving the path for many other aspiring artists, so that
they would also have the exposure that is much needed in Sri Lanka."
of Rajasthan recreated through dance
There is certain magic about Rajasthan, and it is from this
very breathtaking place which is renowned for its history and art
and culture, that a dance troupe would be visiting Sri Lanka.
A 12 member
Rajasthani folk dance troupe from India will be visiting Sri Lanka
from December 22 to 29, at the invitation of the Sri Lankan Ministry
of Cultural Affairs to participate in the National Dance Festival
being organized at the Vihara Maha Devi Park in Colombo.
The group led
by Mr. Umrao Khan Langa, will regale the audience with its repertoire
of lively performances, delightful music, and colourful folk dances,
rarely seen in Sri Lanka.
The land of
warriors and royal elegance is exactly how anyone would describe
Rajasthan. Majestic forts rise from the sands, and ornate palaces
throb with a romantic charm, celebrated in song by ballad singers.
the North West of India, the state of Rajasthan forms a part of
the great Indian desert, and is famous for its sand dunes, breathtaking
architecture, majestic forts, vibrant colours, and rich cultural
of Rajasthan is characterised by brightly coloured costumes and
pulsating folk music, reflecting the state's rich cultural heritage
and glorious past.
The visit of
the troupe is sponsored by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.
The performances in Colombo and Kandy are being jointly organised
by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs of Sri Lanka and the Indian
High Commission in Colombo under the India- Sri Lanka Cultural Exchange
Performance at Town Hall , Matale,
Performance at Mahamaya Girls College, Kandy,
Performance at Elphinstone Theatre, Colombo,
Performance at the National Dance Festival at the Vihara Maha Devi
can be obtained at the Indian Cultural Centre, 133 Bauddhaloka Mawatha,
Colombo 4, Tel No. 500014 or at the Ministry of Cultural Affairs,
8th Floor Sethsiripaya, Battaramulla (Mr. Manamendera Medawattegedara)
Tel No. 888336.