Another flight of different creativity
By Priyanwada Ranawaka
Movement, rhythm and audio,
Bring forth emotions that flow through the veins
Liveliness to the last sense of the word
Love, we all love life
So, what difference
Between you and me…
'The Flight of the Butterflies', a workshop organized by the Sunera Foundation brought together both old and new faces of the Butterfly Theatre Company and The Second Wing. The workshop, from November 30 to December 2 at the SLFI helped the participants from Kegalle, Ratmalana, Tangalle, Batticaloa, Ratnapura and Kurunegala, to feel the power of teamwork. Not only did it pave the way for them to meet old friends and forge new friendships, but also to put together their different abilities and creativity.

Guided by instructors, they defined the art of miming. In one such activity, by simply folding a sheet of paper, they created the shapes of a tie, a snake, a fan, a butterfly, a flute, and used them in their dance. "Though some of them are blind, deaf and unable to speak, they react marvellously to music," explained Rohana Deva, Creative Director of the Sunera Foundation who is behind the theatre work.

The participants then tore a sheet of newspaper into small pieces to make a collage figure of a snake, a key, a ship, a 'wonder' fish and a mask. Picking the figure they made as the central theme, they then took up the task of composing a small skit within two minutes. "It's skits like these that help us to make a massive production. We only have to give them the guidelines and they do everything else on their own," explained Rohana Deva.

He explained how dance dynamics can effectively release the creative energies of the differently-abled. "It provides them with a means of expression."

Mari Indrani, 36, had come from Kegalle to take part in the workshop. "I am back in Colombo after two years and it was great to meet my friends again," she says. Having taken part in Samanalayo Piyambathi (Butterflies will Always Fly), Kandulu Mal Pipila (Flowers will always bloom) and Onchili Varam (Swinging Times), Indrani says that she is happy to be back in theatre work. "I was able to meet the new members of our family," she says.

His life changed since he got involved with theatre, says Jayasundara, 29. Being blind since the age of three, Jayasundara who is from Mahiyanganaya could not do anything by himself. "I could not recognize sounds or even recognize the direction theycame from," he says adding that since theatre work requires him to have a good ear for music, he has now improved his skill of recognizing people from their voices. "I have a lot of friends," he adds.

"Our aim is to project the services of the Foundation on behalf of the differently abled youth of the country," said Sunethra Bandaranaike, founder of the group. "By being with them, there is a lot that we can learn."

Standing by its theme, 'Where there is art, there is hope', the Sunera Foundation has organized many workshop, enabling it to gathermore than 50 talented artists with different abilities. Thus was formed the Butterfly Theatre Company and the Butterfly Theatre Company -- Second Wing. They have five productions to their credit so far: 'Butterflies will always fly' (1998), 'Flowers will always bloom' (2000), 'Swinging times- A fairy tale for adults' (2001), 'Journey into the subconscious' (2002) and the most recent 'Turtles will never fly' (2004).

The Deutsch Bank's Asia Foundation Fund sponsored the workshop.

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