TV Times

Maname goes to the hills
'Maname', the theatrical masterpiece of Prof. Ediriweera Sarachchandra will be staged on January 26, Thursday at Hindu Cultural Centre Hall in Kandy.
The play which had been prescribed for G. C. E. Advanced Level Examination has two shows at 8.30 am and 11.30 am. Another two shows of 'Maname' will go on board at Tower Hall, Maradana on January 27 at 8.30 am and 11.30 am.

Produced in 1956 Prof. Sarachchandra's epoch making major play is considered the seminal work of the contemporary Sri Lankan theatre, triggering off as it did, a wide - spread resurgence in theatrical activity throughout the country and right through the last four decades.

Writing about 'Maname' and Prof. Sarachchandra late A. J. Gunawardena stated "at a point when Sinhala drama seemed to have lost all sense of direction and purpose Ediriweera Sarachchandra, Sri Lanka's greatest playwright, came into the scene."

He further wrote Sarachchandra, an academic by occupation, was a moderniser who was essentially Tagorean in spirit. He convinced that the direct emulation of Western forms was not the way forward for Sinhala drama, sought to attain a viable fusion of the Western and Asian modes.

He further believed that drama was a poetic medium which, most properly, should concern itself with perennial themes, and not with quotidian issues. The use of poetry, music, song, dance and stylised gesture on the modern stage was entirely appropriate, he argued.

Sarachchandra's work for the stage followed these principles. Writing and directing the plays by himself, he demonstrated outstanding poetic gifts and a sure grasp of modern stagecraft. Always working with 'found material' such as Buddhist Jataka stories and folk tales, he experimented with traditional theatrical forms. For his path-breaking "Maname" (1956), Sarachchandra employed the almost extinct nadagam form. This turned out to be an inspired choice, for the nadagam elegantly accommodated the theatrical vocabulary he favoured.

"Maname" accomplished several objectives. While offering an exceptionally satisfying theatrical experience, the play validated the path that Sarachchandra sought to follow. It demonstrated that a productive fusion of the traditional and the modern was not only feasible on stage but desirable. As a shining example of new possibilities in theatre, "Maname" brought self-esteem and a mood of self-confidence into the sphere of Sinhala theatrical activity.


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