So. . . . . . this is Christmas: A festive fantasyView(s):
‘So. . . this is Christmas’ is a show I saw in October, wrote this piece in November and sent it for publication in December. Many may wonder why this took so long. The reason is too long a story to relate and moreover it was just beyond my control; however when I saw the Christmas decorations I had a lovely sensation of warmth that Sri Lanka comes alive at the various festivities of the diverse communities and underlines the sense of plurality in this Island nation. As I looked around and admired the various places I exclaimed – ‘So …this is Christmas’ and I knew this phrase was not original and Kanthi Ranchigoda’s programme came to my mind so sharply that I was immediately prompted to publish my appreciation of ‘So…this is Christmas’, a fantasy show – mystical and magical but lively and human.
Writing this piece wasn’t easy – first I had to throw out the overdone clichés, the superlative phrases and look around for the language to express this wonderful presentation of the phenomenal Kanthi who combines within herself the talents that produced an interpretation of Christmas that usually existed only in the imagination of persons. The on the cue presentation of items, the perfection of movement, the skilled artistry of design and the fantastic choreography told a story of hard work and hours of practising and rehearsal which demand intense concentration and focus. How did the consequence of such effort visualise itself on the stage – A carefree joyousness where without exception every single player/dancer produced her own environment of joy that made the aura of Lionel Wendt a landscape of pure carefree, happiness – any moment one might have expected the expression of joy to burst out into laughter. It was not a ‘sit-back’ and relax programme. It was an energy filling and a participatory exercise and the whole mind was absorbed in breathing in and breathing out the character of performance.
The narrative of the show would envisage an almost total scene of Christmas with the snow man, the icicles on the tree and the graceful snowflakes. Santa is very much on the scene with his little elves and the reindeer prancing around to take the beautifully wrapped Christmas presents to hang on the artistically decorated Christmas trees. The scene is set with just the appropriate music, songs and movement. With all gaiety and sparkle the gentle touch of holiness comes in with the angels and fairies. The Dance Works Centre is known for its composition that enfold within it talents of all ages and well as skills ranging from a variety of dance movements depicted in the Christmas polka, Pas De Deux.
The Finale was a miniature show in itself very imaginatively conjured with an artistic blending of sound, light, movement and music. The phenomenal artist that is Kanthi and her Dance Works Centre skilfully brought out the talents of the performers.
Long ago in my youth I was taken to a fireworks display – the first of its kind in Sri Lanka. The scene was a velvety black night at the Galle Face Green and the beautiful shapes that shot out held me enthralled for minutes – this was childhood ecstasy – it was a similar feeling I had at the end of programme and exclaimed – “So. . . . this Christmas!”