The ants thrill the crowds
Grandma Vajira sat with the audience in the third row. For well over five decades she was either on stage performing or backstage ensuring that everything was in order. Now she prefers to watch how the others are taking the Chitrasena Kalayathanaya forward. At the end of the evening obviously she was happy and proud - as we all were. Daughter Anjalika had produced excellent theatre. 'Kumbi Kathawa' was superbly crafted, perfectly acted and exceedingly entertaining.
To manage a whole heap of kids on stage is no easy task. Anjalika had disciplined them extremely well, maintaining the high quality of the earlier Chitrasena-Vajira productions. She had teamed up with Mahesh Umagiliya to produce a high class children's ballet.
The colourful costumes created by Mahesh had the elements of all the animals and birds - ants, fire flies, grasshoppers, ladybugs, butterflies and of course, the mosquito - well depicted. The audio-visual presentation prior to the ballet was meaningful. In particular, the intricacies of how the costumes and props were designed made the audience appreciate the effort put in. The meticulous planning from beginning to end gave the production its exquisite touch.
'Kumbi Kathawa' was not merely an entertaining piece of theatre. As the programme note said though the story of the ballet is simple, it carries a timely message. "It shows how an enemy should not discourage and weaken you and how a common enemy like a natural disaster makes everyone dependent on each other. It also highlights the fact that you can even bring yourself to help your worst enemy which reflects the ideology of the main religions," the note said.
It is comforting to see the Kalayathanaya keeping to the high standards maintained for over six decades. It has passed on to a generation who realizes the need to stick with the culture built up by Chitrasena and Vajira without yielding to the current trends which do not necessarily help to preserve traditions. Elder daughter Upeka proved her capabilities and now the younger Anjalika has shown she is on the right track. And the grand-daughters have also got onto the path. Thaji repeated the 'Rebirth' (choreographed by Heshama) she presented at the recent Pradeepanjali XII and played the devastating mosquito in 'Kumbi Kathawa' convincingly.
Well done - Anjalika! Give us more tales of the ants!