Let’s hear it from the housewives

By Namali Premawardhane

Gossip under the microscope, that’s what playwright Indu Dharmasena says his new comedy is all about adding that he hopes it will be the first of a series of plays. Indu says: four people, women, housewives, rich, busy husbands, lots of time together.

We say: gossip, cheating, beauty, fashion, scandalized society and domestic disasters.

Indu says: WRONG.

Deepika (Krys Sosa) was happily married to Suranjith (Abbasalis Rozais), a renowned architect. Lately though, there’s been the appearance of “signs”. He’s very engrossed in his work, is hardly ever home, and definitely not performing his marital “duties”. One dear friend opens Deepika’s eyes to the truth of the matter – there’s something else behind the sudden work-enthusiasm.

Priyanka (Sanwada Dharmasena), Ronda (Koluu) and Manisha (Sanjana Selvarajah), in their loving bid to help their friend get to the bottom of the story and get her life back on track, put their heads together and come up with the perfect POA (an acronym for “plan of action”, Deepika – though not quite sure where her head is right now – informs us firmly and repeatedly).

Chanchala (Ruwendi Wakwella), the hottest interior designer in town and one of Suranjith’s partners (“partners”!?) on his latest and most fabulously-stunningly-dream-like project, has just heard (from a very reliable source of course!) some very good (or bad?) news about his wife (whoops! But she wasn’t supposed to share!). Suranjith knows for a fact that the source must be mistaken, or …! His good friend and colleague Ravi (Indu Dharmasena) takes a weekend out at Danny Silva (Gehan Cooray)’s spa to help Suranjith sort the matter out in a “civilized” manner, only to have his own wife Priyanka find out something he’s apparently been hiding throughout their life together.

A pretty pickle: Clockwise, Sanwada, Sanjana, Ruwendi, Krys and Koluu. Pix by Mangala Weerasekera

Misunderstandings, mayhem and lots of laughs you think, we know these plots so well. Everybody’s sleeping around and having fun and nobody ends up happy. But you don’t know Indu Dharmasena’s plot for his next comedy ‘Real Housewives of Colombo’. It sounds at first like another piece of gossip with lots of juicy stories rolled up together to create an ‘immoral’ explosive. But the base for those plays was gossip itself. The base for this one is a good hard look at it.

“When in doubt” says Koluu, who plays Ronda (the “knowledgeable” one, thrice married!), “get it from the horse’s mouth.” Everyone can identify with at least one of the characters,” Indu assures us with a smile “because they are based on actual people”. So there’s no black or white. There’s definitely a message behind the play, but the playwright is careful to note that his plays have matured since his first few, and that the understanding that people are “really just shades of grey” has really sunk into this one. So there’s the comedy and the craziness, but there’s also the thought to take home (apart from the tears of laughter!)

‘Real Housewives of Colombo’, goes on the boards at the Lionel Wendt on July 22, 23 & 24 at 7.30 p.m. Tickets priced at Rs. 1500, 1000, 750 and 500 are available at the theatre. Proceeds from the first night will be for “Friends of Prisoners Children” while those from the second night go to the “Sri Lanka Air Force Seva Vanitha Unit”. The print media sponsors are the Sunday Times and the Daily Mirror.

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