ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday June 01, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 53

Treat for music and theatre enthusiasts

By Tahnee Hopman

The famous violin contest which took place between Guttila and his pupil Musila is something most of us are familiar with. For some of us who swotted those verses and their meanings for the dreaded O/Level Sinhalese Literature exam, the duel of the violinists remains, whether we like it or not, indelibly stamped in our memories.

If not, here it is in a nutshell. Musila, having been taught by the renowned violinist Guttila, challenged his teacher to a contest, in which the winner would take the position of the court violinist. He was, of course, defeated, and returned from Benares to his home town Ujjeni.

The Guttila story was staged as an original English musical four years back, and the sequel to the story is set to take the stage from June 19-24 at the Lionel Wendt Theatre. Revenge, a joint venture between Diliup Gabadamudalige (music) and Uddaka Tennakoon (concept and lyrics), takes off from the point at which Musila returns from Benares.

"The whole musical is in English," explained Mr. Gabadamudalige, "and it is a fusion of many genres – funk, classical, blues, jazz, rock and hip hop." It is a far sight different from the impression that the audience had the previous time, of a heavy classical Sinhalese musical. Rather, the show promises to be a treat for music and theatre enthusiasts of all age groups.

"Apart from the musical value of the show," he adds, "it also depicts many family and social values rare in the world today." In Revenge, we find Musila (played by Christopher Steven) around five years down the line from his defeat at Benares, living a luxurious life in Ujjeni, having built up a reputation for himself as a great violinist.

Given Musila's character, he is unable to rest until he can take his revenge on Guttila (Eraj de Silva). He devises a cunning plan to lure his former teacher into a second contest, and so the story unravels.

The large cast of 23 members has been practising tirelessly since February and is eager to give of its best. After many weeks of intense preparation – acting out scenes, perfecting the singing and the gruelling dance moves, Diliup is confident that the young cast has done a great job.

"It has not been an easy feat to pull off," he says, "but they have all had a good overall experience of acting, singing and dancing, and I am proud of what they have achieved so far."

Tickets for the show will be available at the Lionel Wendt, and parking will be available at the Women's International premises.

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