ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday March 23, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 43

Treat to watch

By Natasha Fernandopulle

It may not come in the most obvious forms but good and evil do exist in this world and most of us have to choose between the two in our everyday lives. And then, at the same time, we wish for so many things in life hoping that what we wish for, will make our dreary or miserable lives richer. Such feelings, emotions and thoughts are hardly alien to us. So with such themes in mind, the theatre group 'Mind Adventures' brings to you the comedic play, Samurai, by Geoffrey Case.

The setting is 10th century Japan where a particular city is deteriorating without food and as a result the people of the city are dying due to hunger. Then, the city is granted a magical Golden Samurai Sword that grants you absolutely anything you desire. The sword is presented to them by a young boy who has travelled a great deal and has given it to anyone who so needs it. The citizens in return agree to bring the city back on its feet and return the sword in a year. However once they get used to getting all they want, without doing anything, laziness and greed sets in… thus the adventure unravels...

This comedy targets a young audience from the age of 10 years and upwards. The cast too is a young one and according to Subha Wijesiriwardena who plays The Empress on one of the performance days, "the cast consists sort of new people to theatre," she said.

The theatre group Mind Adventures is headed by Tracy Holsinger and Akhry Amir and what they aim is to use young people to speak to young people, thus targeting a young audience, because the youth are the future. Subha went on to say that youth theatre is also currently the trend even in Broadway, and that Mind Adventures is also looking in that direction.

Speaking to Tracy, she said that the play is an adapted one and that none of it is original. However, they are "trying to make it more modern in a way that will appeal to the people they want to reach." And, since they are aiming to attract kids, there will be no bad language either!

From the make-up to the costumes, everything will be elaborate and visually colourful. The stage will be a traditional Japanese 'Noh' one. 'Noh' is a traditional Japanese theatre form. In addition it will be physical theatre where the acting will be highly stylised and movement base, it will be very animate and physical where the whole body is used as the action. Timing is of the essence and it will be "ensemble playing and not really choreographed movement," Tracy said.

"When you're young, you're more open-minded," she went on to say in response to why they will be targeting a younger audience. What they would like them to realise is that "there's more than one way of looking at something."

The themes of the play will be greed and corruption and in fact, even the hero of the story tries to see both sides of an argument. She went on to say the play is "basically to show that you have the right to make up your mind about what's right and wrong."

The stage will be bare, in keeping with Japanese theatre tradition, due to there being minimal props mime will also be used. They have got the help of martial arts experts "so they've helped smoothen out the edges," Tracy said. From the moment it begins, till it ends, the performance will be full of magic, action and comedy and will certainly be a treat to watch.

Mind Adventures in collaboration with the Wendy Whatmore Academy has more in store for the year, as in August they will stage, Into The Woods by Stephen Sondheim and in November The Boy Who Spoke In Numbers an adaptation from a short story by Sri Lanka's Mike Masilamani.

The main sponsors for Samurai are The British Council while TNL Radio and The Sunday Times are the Media Sponsors and it will be performed at the Garden of the British Council Colombo from March 25 - 30 at 8pm.

The performance will be for around one hour and 15 minutes and there will be no interval. Tickets will be priced at Rs.500 and will be unreserved.

They will be available on the nights of the performances but you can book your tickets and to do so please call 077 774 2390 or 077 282 8877. You can also visit the Mind Adventures blog for more details on this and their other productions.

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