Rajitha goes on the boards

On the final day of the three-day drama festival of award winning playwright Rajitha Dissanayake's two critically acclaimed plays will go on the board at Lionel Wendt theatre today (June 18).

The final day of three-day drama festival of Rajitha, "Hansayantath Man Aasai" (I Love Swans Also) and "Mata Vedi Thiyannedda" (Aren't You Going to Shoot me) will be staged at one sit. His two other plays "Sihina Horu Aran" (Stolen Dreams) and "Veeraya Merila" (The Hero is Dead) were staged on June 16 and 17. The theatre event also heralds the landmark one hundredth performance of the immensely popular and thought provoking "Veeraya Merila", which swept the 2002 State Drama Festival with five awards including that of 'Best Production'.

Among the two plays, "Hansayantath Man Aasai" garnered four awards at the 1997 State Drama Festival while "Mata Vedi Thiyannedda" won critical acclaims.

At this festival "Sihina Horu Aran" which won Best Original Script at the 2006 State Drama Festival made a return to the local stage, after a series of international performances in Europe and India. The play toured Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland and Italy from April 1 to May 10 and also featured at the prestigious 'Bharath Rang Mahaotsav' of the National School of Drama in India New Delhi in January this year. Rajitha speaking to the TV Times about the festival said "A play celebrating its 100th show is an important moment in a country where there is hardly any state support. While Veeraya Merila celebrated its 100 performance 'Sihinia Horu Aranl' celebrated the 50th performance and 'Hansayantath Man Asai' started in 1996 was staged after ten years.

Asked about the response the team received from their international shows, Rajitha said "It was heartening to see the response of the Sri Lankans overseas for our performances. In fact we were doubtful whether there would be any audience who would accept us. But we realised that we were wrong,".

"But the experience we gained in India was quite different as it was educative and informative. We got opportunities to experience large number of plays from Japan, China, Nepal, Iran, India, Bangladesh and etc," Rajitha explained.

And there too we had a good response and English translation of two of our plays were requested to perform there.

"I realised that playwrights everywhere face similar problems despite they being rich or poor. And like in cinema there are forums, where dramatists come together,",\ he added.

Dissanayake's theatre festival will give audiences a unique opportunity to experience four of his best works in one sitting and a CD containing the soundtracks of the plays will also be on sale at the event. The cast includes renowned film, stage and teledrama actors and comprises Priyankara Ratnayake, Jayani Senanayake, Saumya Liyanage, Gihan Fernando, Dayadeva Edirisinghe, Prasad Sooriyarachchi, Dharmapriya Dias, Sarath Kothelawala, Nilmini Buwaneka, Shyam Fernando, Gihan de Chickera, Tharindi Fonseka and Upul Nishantha.

Songs are by Kapila Poogalarachchi, Make up Priyantha Dissanayake and Production Manager Jude Srimal.

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