Teenage victims

By Megara Tegal, Pix by Athula Devapriya

Taking on a dark and mature play, the senior students of Gateway College will be presenting Victims, an original play about the trials faced by adolescents of today.

The play revolves around the lives of a group of teenagers, addressing the problems and issues faced by them in their day to day lives. Teenagers being the subject of the play, the story does not only appeal to a younger audience, but is also an eye opener for parents.

Speaking about his part in the play, one of the leading actors Nafeel Niyas (15), says “while I can relate to the personality of my character, portraying teenage life in this sort of play is a bit trying. We have blown the issues out of proportion to provide the audience with a better understanding of the problems faced by the characters. So we’ve had to strike a balance between acting natural and maintaining the exaggerated nature of the play. He added that the style in which the play is performed, effectively brings out the situations that take place in the day to day life of a teenager and the theme of the play – teenagers being victims.

Nafeel’s character is Shehan, an intelligent and high achieving student. He is a sensitive boy and hero worships his single parent father. At school however, Shehan is bullied for being the “clever nerd.” Leading to a crucial point in Shehan’s life, the play portrays him as a victim of many social realities to which he succumbs.

Of the other three main characters is Ryan, played by Pradeepa Perera (18). Ryan is a promising student who seems to have it made. As the story progresses Ryan becomes a victim of his own habits and of unintentional misdeeds. Seeing himself as a balanced individual who made ‘just one mistake,’ he questions why life is unfair. The play poses the question of whether Ryan is a victim of himself or if he is a victim of those around him and their influence.

Entwined with Ryan’s story is Melanie portrayed by Marliese Liyanage (17). Melanie is yet another well balanced talented teenager who suffers due to Ryan’s carelessness, forcing her life down a different path. She is the victim of the morals and the carelessness of those around her.

Last is the story of Sonali played by Nadira Jumat (16). A friend of the other three teenagers, Sonali is a victim of an estranged marriage and a neglectful parent, which compels her to take life into her own hands and make her own decisions. The play questions whether she is a victim or whether she can overcome her sad situation.

Supporting cast include Vijini Dahanayake (17) as Sonali’s mother, Minthaka Kumarasinghe (18) as Shehan’s father and Tharaka Hettiarachchi (18) as Ryan’s counselor.

The script was written by professional drama teacher Sashi Mendis, with the help of the cast. “Starting out I didn’t have the vaguest of ideas as to what the play was going to be about. I decided the central theme was going to be victims after having held several workshop discussions with the kids. For one session I got the cast to listen to different songs that have a significant meaning, and asked them to identify characters, emotions and themes. It was during the discussion that the scenes began to formulate in my mind,” explains Sashi. While the play is essentially of a mature nature, it is not without its moments of comic relief.

The production includes music, song and dance, show casing the talents of the students of Gateway College. According to Sashi, the play Victims, aims to be both entertaining and thought provoking. The play will be staged at the Lionel Wendt on August 1 and 2, at 7pm. Tickets can be purchased at Gateway College and the Lionel Wendt.

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