Lionel Wendt all set for Festival of Arts once again

By Tahnee Hopman

Celebrating the 111th birth anniversary of Lionel Wendt this year, The Lionel Wendt Theatre and Gallery presents its second Festival of Arts, to be held from November 23 to 27 Following the resounding success of last year’s festival which comprised drama, music and dance performances as well as art and photography exhibitions, this year’s festival will focus primarily on drama with a selection of engaging English, Sinhalese and Tamil performances.

“One aim of the festival is to give focus to the work of dramatists who in some cases do not have the means to give their work the exposure it deserves,” comments Dilrukshi Wijenayake, the Administrative Secretary of the Lionel Wendt Memorial Fund, adding that the festival will provide audiences with the rare opportunity to witness plays such as ‘Chekku’- a Tamil drama which won the award for Best Play and six other awards at the Drama Festival in 1976; and an exhibition by veteran artist H. A. Karunaratna.The schedule for the five day festival is as follows:

November 23- Chekku- directed by Thiyagaraja Sivanesan and presented by Janakaraliya. The play is a depiction of the Sri Lankan socio-political environment and a glimpse of its impact on people; and signifies the stereotyped exploitation of the poor by the parties coming into power.

November 24- Bernada ge Sipiri Geya- a Sinhala translation of Garcia Lorca’s House of Bernada Alba. After the death of her second husband, Bernada Alba, a dominating woman, imposes a period of mourning of eight years upon her household. Her daughters, aged between 21 and 40 are shielded, controlled and prohibited from any form of relationship. The play is translated by Ranjini Obeysekera and directed by Priyantha Sirikumara.

November 25- Bakamuna Weedi Basi- Written and directed by award winning playwright Rajitha Dissanayake, the play explores the power of black humour in political satire and deals with contemporary socio-political realities that explore the complex dynamic between people and power.
November 26- The Amazing Krispinsky- Written by Eric Coble and directed by Chamat Arambewela. Krispinsky is the world’s greatest escape artist, who now attempts his ultimate escape- a feat so daring, so dangerous, it could prove to be fatal.

Starving Children- Written by Eric Bogosian and directed by Ruvin de Silva. Collecting money for children is easy; if the kids are starving, it becomes even easier. Passionate preacher Reverend Tim perfects the art of the guilt trip as he raises funds for starving children.

Commencing- Written by Jane Shepard and directed by Brandon Ingram. Kelli is about to go on a blind date organized by her office colleagues. Arlin turns up with some flowers and Kelli is dismayed to realize that she is her blind date. The play explores the stereotypes that exist in our minds and the barriers which exist in communicating with each other.

Coriolanus- an excerpt from William Shakespeare’s play, directed by Sashane Perera and performed by the Drama Society of D. S Senanayake College. Coriolanus deals with his imminent appointment as the Consul of Rome. His ease on the battlefield is offset by his unease in the murky world of politics.
November 27- Charandas- Winner of the State Literary Award in 2009, written and directed by Parakrama Niriella. The play is about a thief who steals from the rich, especially the heartless rich, and helps the poor with the pickings.

All performances commence at 7 p.m. November 23 to 27 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.- Lionel Wendt Gallery- Exhibition of Art and Sculpture by Sri Lankan Artists Harold Peiris Gallery- Exhibition of Art and Sculpture by H. A. Karunaratna.

Tickets for the performances priced at Rs. 1000, 750, 500, 300 and 250; and season tickets priced at Rs. 2000 will be available at The Lionel Wendt from November 11.

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