Colombo has seen its fare share of good theatre – that's a given. Ranging from the intensely abstract, to the light-hearted, to the musicals, performances have abounded in numerous styles and variations. But when it comes to comedy especially, we've got our very own "brand" almost… one particular series of productions that have almost carved out its own niche in the minds of theatregoers. And come next weekend, you will be treated to yet another spectacularly hilarious, socially apt production, sure to keep you laughing throughout, but most importantly which would allow you to walk away pondering on the many complexities that make up the average human mind.
Here For a Fit-on, will go on boards on July 13 – 15, at the Lionel Wendt at 7:30 pm. Indu Dharmasena's latest comedy, promises to be a rib-tickling performance, keeping you in fits of laughter, as always. Inspired by Ray Cooney's creations which have been performed here regularly, directed by Jehan Bastians and Neidra Williams, Indu says this latest production is not exactly based on Cooney's creations, but rather, similar in style. The plot revolves around Dr. Premjith Suwadena, played by Indu, who is a seemingly excellent doctor, but is also a great Casanova. Since he is under the impression that his wife suspects that he meets his numerous girlfriends by them posing as his patients, the doctor convinces his friend, Maithri Sri Hadhakarana (a famous dress designer), to let him use his house cum workshop, while he is away for a few days, to meet up with his latest fling Sumi, played by Michelle Herft. "Doctor Suwadena doesn't really mean to jeopardise his marriage. He just wants to have a good time! And staying in line with the stereotypical notion of how a "doctor" should live his life, according to what society believes, he does not want to destroy that notion. He also takes it for granted that because he's a doctor, everyone should respect him and that he can basically get away with anything," says Indu. He added that most politicians and doctors have acquired this impression of being infallible almost, due to society and their attitudes regarding professions such as these.
"My role is Sumi, and she is the current girlfriend of Dr. Premjith. It's quite an average character actually, with no major complexities. She is married as well, and seems like the neglected wife, who is having an affair to spice up her life," says Michelle. Having played many similar roles before, she seems quite at ease playing the jilted lover, the materialistic girlfriend, and the opportunist.
The plot thickens when the doctor arrives at Maithri's house to find the dress designer's assistant, Bandu, played by Jehan Bastians, in the house, as he is down with the flu. "Bandu can be described as a metro-sexual. He is not overly effeminate, but shows traits of an individual in tune with fashion. Of course Indu is stereotyping people in the industry, with this character!" says Jehan. This is his first time doing a role like this, and according to him, it is not hard, but an interesting challenge. "The character is extremely involved in the plot, and adds a lot of colour to it. Bandu is quite gullible and usually takes people at face value, thus creating further complications in the plot."
Also, since the doctor gives him two Piritons to relieve him from his flu, he has to be on stage for most of the play, but not be fully involved with what's going on. "Being on stage and not acting, is much harder than acting, because you have to keep track of what's going on, but not be a part of it." Acting after almost five years, Jehan seems to be enjoying the experience, taking a break from the role of directing which he has been handling.
Once he walks into the house and finds Bandu there, Dr. Suwadena tries to cancel his rendezvous, but it's too late as his girlfriend arrives, followed by another of his flings, Anjana, played by Sanwada Abeysirigunawardena, who is practically stalking him. "My role is Dr. Suwadena's ex girlfriend, but I am under the impression that I am his current! Anjana basically dotes over him, and he has since of late been avoiding her calls and texts and basically phasing her out, mainly because she's so overbearing and too much for him to handle. She enters the scene when she sees the doctor's car in Maithri's porch, while being on a visit at her cousin's across the road, and comes in looking for him. The doctor, so as to avoid any suspicion, tells her that Sumi is his wife, and tells Sumi the same about Anjana."
Yet another character that adds spice to the plot is Anjana's hypochondriac cousin, Gloria, who in the play is a nosy neighbour. Played by Chithranga Kariyawasan, who has acted as the Dubai returned Lucy in Indu's Tommiya series, brings to life this colourful role quite aptly. "She is a bit of an attention freak, and when she hears that the doctor is having a "private consultation" with a VIP patient, according to Bandu, she gets even more interested in the whole situation, and being the hypochondriac that she is, decided to get the maximum off the doctor.
Sumi's cocky and influential husband Mahen, is played by Abbas Rozais.
"My role is closely related to an powerful member in the political scene, and he basically sees his wife as a grumpy, whinny woman. The role is a perfect opportunity to be cocky on purpose, and having two body guards of my own, my role gets to bring out the general nuances that come with the profession." The naïve Anushika, who is there for a fit on, is played by Sanjana Selvaraja. "She believes anything that her man says, and is actually quite thrilled to be with this "Sugar Daddy" so to speak. She is a materialistic girl, and her arrival adds even more spice to the plot." Neidra Williams plays a cameo role as the haughty Renuka, and the two body guards are played by Gehan Cooray and Ishkey Irshard.
As one lie leads to another, all hell breaks loose with complications increasing with the entrance of each character. Can the doctor walk away from his own web of lies safe and sound? Get yourself to the Wendt and find yourself, all the while indulging yourself with some meticulously done comedy, and enjoy the trials and travails that make up the complicated life of Doctor Suwadena.
While tickets are priced at Rs. 800/- , Rs. 600/- , Rs. 350 (Reserved) and Balcony Rs. 200/- (Unreserved), the box plan is open at the Wendt at the moment.
Limited parking will be available on a first come first serve basis, at the Women's International. Electronic Media Sponsors for the performance are Yes Fm & Channel One MTV, while Print Media Sponsors are The Daily Mirror and The Sunday Times.