Mirror Magazine
7th May 2000
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By Ruhanie Perera
A sceneBhanu and Nabeel were arguing, oblivious to what was happening around them. All that mattered was their case. The case that would decide if a man was a murderer or not...

No, they were not lawyers. They were students of the British School in Colombo putting their hearts and souls into the rehearsal of their latest production. After presenting many comedies, the British School has now decided to stage a play of a more serious nature. 'The Night of March 23rd', an adptation of a play by Jeffrey Archer, is so serious that it revolves around a murder.

A sceneYou have the usual happily married couple, except that in this case the wife, Lady Metcalfe, played by Tifeen Deen, is dying. To spoil things there is the loyal but sly and snoopy housekeeper Mrs. Rogers (Fatima Maniku). When Lady Metcalfe dies her husband Sir David Metcalfe (Nabeel Hashim), a lawyer is accused of murder and he decides to represent himself. The courtroom is set ablaze by the fiery prosecuting lawyer (Bhanu Abayasinghe) with his arguments. 

"The Night of March 23rd' is different because the audience sees the present before learning the past. And it offers no answers, just a lot of situations on which the audience can base their conclusions. For these fun loving youngsters who "can't keep a straight face", a play of this nature is completely against their nature. Yet they handle it quite well. "It's difficult because you've got to be aware of a million different things at once," says Fatima Manikku, "but it's a lot of fun". Tifeen Deen adds, "There are so many sides to my character - I've got to remember I'm sick, emotional and loving and sustain all of that."

Difficult, though the play maybe, as the young ones take their places on the makeshift stage and start the scene, you know that the effort comes from the heart. 

In a mood for a complex court case? The play, directed by Vinodh Senadheera goes on the boards on May 11, 12 and 13 at the Russian Cultural Center, Independence Avenue Colombo 7 at 6.30 p.m.

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