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

Night of many stars

By Namali Premawardhana and Dinidu de Alwis, Pix by Sanka Vidanagama

Thursday, May 22, found the Lionel Wendt entrance thronged with school-kids all dressed up to experience one of the most happening events in Colombo's annual school calendar – DramaComp 2008, packed full of theatrical brilliance which was about to take off!

First to come on stage was Musaeus College with Ruwanthie de Chickera's adaptation of The Middle of Silence. The story started with a rather long drawn-out narrative and somehow did not engage the audience as much as was expected though Kamini, played by Harini Indiketiya, shone as a typical Sri Lankan housewife.

Up next, Anula Vidyalaya presented Colours of the Wind based on the Disney favourite Pocohonatas. Though acted out with enthusiasm this too failed to communicate adequately with the audience. The originality of the script however could be appreciated with the introduction of the characters, which, carried out in a novel way created a connection between the audience and each individual character. But one nagging question was left in the viewer's mind: Why was Pocohontas carrying a glittery handbag?

The Peterites guided by Danu Innasithamby then gave the audience a funny, simple and satirical performance of Neil Simon's Rumours. The lines were clear and the acting was relatively good. Chris Yohan stood out as a natural performer, which won him the award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Two main aspects which shone through the production being; that the entire crew was very relaxed and at home at being on stage, and the years of experience that the Peterites carry in theatre which explains the professionalism they bring to it. The only boys school that took part in the competition, and eventually took the Runners Up trophy for their effort.

Up next were the Bishopians, who delivered possibly the purest performance of the night. They took on the The Bear by Chekhov, and stuck to the original script, right down to the heated kissing scene at the end. Celina Cramer was spot-on in her portrayal of Popova, complete with a subtle accent and awesome facial expression as well as an amazing mastering of one of the generally most overlooked aspects of acting – silent reactions.

This performance won Bishop’s College the award for Best Actor/Actress as well as the Most Memorable Performance. The character of Luka too was portrayed quite wonderfully, much of the effect complemented by the clever makeup. As a whole, the play was very well cast, and visual balance was maintained throughout. Congratulations to the winners of the DramaComp Champions' Shield, who also bagged the Best Backstage Crew award.

Ladies College gave the champions a good run for their money with their original play Rewind, Replay written and directed solely by the students. The Indian-themed fairytale featured a play-within-a-play and held the audience completely enrapt. The three narrator-pandits were perfectly coordinated and seemed to move as one body. The costumes were colourful and most importantly, comfortably worn despite being tightly wrapped saris and loosely hanging sarongs.

The cast was natural and well distributed, although they did crowd the stage at certain points in the play. The script which was flowing, witty and generally well delivered, took home to Ladies College the award for Best Original Script. Shenali Fernando won for them the award for Best Actor/Actress in a Non-Speaking Role.

Though they could perhaps have focused more on subtle control of physical movement and vocal modulation, these girls were nevertheless the show-stealers of the evening.

The evening ended with a bang, and everyone walked away feeling happily entertained. Judges Delon Weerasinghe, Jith Pieris, Chamath Arambawela and backstage judges Azim Rali and Milinda Perera probably had a tough job but made a good one of it.

Kudos to the Interact Club of Royal College on a brilliant project, well organised and smoothly run, and good luck for the next one. We're impatiently waiting!

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