That time of the year …

With schools getting ready for the Annual Shakespeare Drama Competition set to kick off tomorrow the Mirror Magazine this week spoke to last year’s winners on their experience. This year’s semi finals of the Shakespeare Drama Competition will begin tomorrow and go on till October 5 at the Lionel Wendt Theatre. The much anticipated finals are scheduled for October 20 and 21 at the Bishop’s College Auditorium.

Niroshi Perera (19) represented Ave Maria Convent, Negombo at last year’s competition and won the all island and outstation best actress award

Here is what she had to say ….

Q:What do you love about Shakespeare’s plays?

Even though it’s very hard to understand Shakspearean language sometimes, I love the way Shakespeare expresses human emotions. Everything from jealousy, love, friendship and family are portrayed in his plays and the characters feel so real sometimes! And I wonder what it would be like to be in that person’s shoes. Shakespeare’s plays give us great depth to what people go through in daily life, and I think it helps us to mature as human beings.

Q: As a young actor of today how do you find yourself relating to his plays?

Times could have changed, but people are people! We still feel what people in the Shakespearean era would have felt. Merchant of Venice was very much based on racism, and it is very much a contemporary topic. I still feel that through Shakespearean plays we can change peoples attitudes. It has helped me a lot to understand what real people go through!

Q: Performing as an outstation school

I’m glad that we started participating in the Shakespeare drama competition sometime ago and I’m glad that a lot of other schools are doing the same. It is through the people who supported us that we started to admire Shakespeares’ plays and I’m sure many more schools will participate in future as long as such helpful, theatre lovers remain.

Q:This year’s competition

The choices for the plays seem quite tough, but I’m sure everyone will be put in a great performance on stage. We’re also hoping to do the best we can. What is important is that we learn something through this wonderful experience and make memories that last forever.

Mirantha Jayathilaka (19) represented Maris Stella College, Negombo and played the role of Antiphelous of Ephesus and Antiphelous of Syracuse and won both Best Actor Outstation and Best Actor All Island

Here is what he had to say ….

Shakespeare’s plays? Well what I love is that how effectively he narrates different aspects of human life through his plays and how specific each character is, is just amazing. As the plot flows how each and every act makes sense in the end, sometimes making you cry and sometimes smile, is why it’s hard not to love Shakespeare’s work.

Q: As a young actor of today how do you find yourself relating to his plays?

I think no matter what generation we live in his plays are based on the very basic concepts of human life. So one can very easily relate to them because even though centuries pass, the basis of human life is the same.

Q: Performing as an outstatio school

I think it’s a good sign. English theater is still frequently found only in Colombo. So in a situation like that, new talent being recognized from places outside Colombo means more people are into English theatre and the audience is more wide spread and will help for the betterment of theater not only in Colombo but also in areas outside.

Kisali Mirando (16) played the role of Bassanio from the Merchant of Venice and represented Newstead Girls’ College- Negombo. She won two awards under the category of best supporting actress and best supporting actress-outstation schools and best supporting actress-all island

Here is what she had to say: Some characters are really tough to portray and you need to go through a lot of understudying about the character but yet its quite interesting when you get to know the character perfectly, either it be a comic character or a serious character.even the smallest characters in the play are able to bring out something interesting when put on stage.

Q:Being an outstation school: Our school is an outstation one and last year we emerged as the winning team in the competition. Last year alone there were 3 outstation schools competing for the finals and only one Colombo school . And even the best actress was from an out station school. So, that shows that the outstation schools also have a lot of talent.

Q:This year’s competition
This year is going to be REALLY REALLY tough for us. With a lot of schools taking part than last year. But yet we are going to do our best this time too with a good production.

Bandhuka Premawardhana (17) played the role of of Miranda and represented Trinity College Kandy. He won two awards the best supporting actor all island, and the best supporting actor outstation.

Here is what he had to say …

What I love in Shakespearean plays, is that they are extremely difficult to act in. I had to be someone very unlike me in the drama, and I liked the challenge, and the contrast. I feel that Shakespeare’s plays can adapt to any time period, any society and any culture. The characters that he created are very real, and I found myself being able to feel at home, with his work. I feel that similar incidents in many of his plots can be seen in our lives today, as he deals a lot with human emotions and feelings.

Q:On this year’s competition

Every year, everybody just gets better and better. I am looking forward to watching some awesome dramas this time, just like the last.

Daminda Wijayaratne (19) played the Dromio of Ephesus and Dromio of Syracuse both (a double act). He represented Maris Stella College – Negombo and won Best Actor All Island (Shared with Mirantha Jayathilake)

Here is what he had to say …

Shakespeare has his unique style of drama. He just take you to the extreme of moods, which is actually fun to portray. As a young actor from an outstation school I think there’s a lot of potential in the actors of the Outstation schools just like the ones in Colombo. It was just a matter of putting them on stage really polished and I think the outstation schools managed to do that for a few years lately, which is a really big thing. I hope that this big separation between the Colombo schools and outstation schools will eventually be tighten, and everybody will be judged solely on their talents.

This year’s competition

The competition gets tougher every year. I don’t think anybody is willing to let some other school just walk away with the shield. Everybody is working hard enough, so I think it will be a fair fight.

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