People and events

American play Twelve Angry Men, to hit the stage as Dholahak

By Tahnee Hopman

When American playwright Reginald Rose received a dreaded call for jury duty, he was less than pleased at the thought of performing his civic duty; until he stepped into the courtroom.

"The moment I walked in… and found myself facing a strange man whose fate was suddenly more or less in my hands, my entire attitude changed." Rose was greatly impressed by the gravity of the situation, the sombre activity of the court, and the "absolute finality" of the decision that he and his fellow jurors would have to make. He also thought that since no one other than the jurors had any idea of what went on in a jury room, "a play taking place entirely within a jury room might be an exciting and possibly moving experience for an audience."

The result is a taut, engrossing drama in which eleven jurors believe the defendant in a capital murder trial is guilty, while one juror stands up courageously for what he believes is justice and tries to persuade the others to his way of thinking.

Award winning actor and director Athula Pathirana believes that despite the play's originally American setting, Rose's 'Twelve Angry Men' is extremely poignant in a Sri Lankan context, and for the first time, the Sri Lankan theatre audience will be able to witness Reginald Rose's work on stage in 'Dholahak' at the Lionel Wendt on December 1 and 2.

"I feel that Sri Lankan audiences are not as well acquainted with some of the modern American playwrights as they could be," comments Athula. Hopefully 'Dholahak' will mark the beginning of a trend of exploring different styles of drama."

Observing the majority wins system on which society is based, the play poses a series of intriguing questions. "The majority rules; and people are left to suffer for it," he reflects. The play is a subtle questioning of this system and it considers the possibility of one individual being able to bring about a change."

Directed by Athula Pathrana, the cast comprises actors Pujitha de Mel, Sanjay Hettiarachchi, Dharmapriya Dias, Lakshman Mendis, Gihan de Chickera, Jagath Manuwarna, Sampath Jayaweera, Wishwajith Gunasekera, Gamini Wijesinghe, W. S. Jayasiri, Saman Liyanage, Thumidu Dodanthenna and Dayadeva Edirisinghe. The play has been adapted by Saman Liyanage, with music and choreography handled by Kasun Kalhara and Namal Jayasinghe. The Main Coordinator of the show is Praveen Kulasinghe and Stage Management will be handled by Aruna Jayasena. The show's media manager is Malith Hegoda.

Dholahak goes on the boards on December 1 and 2 at 6 45 pm. Tickets priced at Rs. 1000, 750, 500 and 300 are available at the Lionel Wendt.

Musical tribute to parents in Brisbane to help Cancer Hospital in Sri Lanka

Priyanganie Unantenna (nee Hathurusinghe) lost her beloved mother Srimathie Hathurusinghe to leukaemia on April 21 this year, just five months after her mother returned to Sri Lanka after a long holiday in Australia. She had lost her father Dharmasena Hathurusinghe (Attorney-at-Law) to cancer five years ago. Priyanganie believed that the best tribute to her parents would be to help thousands of innocent cancer sufferers in Sri Lanka.

With this in mind, she organised "Pooja", a musical tribute to her beloved parents, with the help and support of the Brisbane Sri Lankan community. Brisbane's talented music group "The Brizlankans" provided music free of charge.

The show was held on August 27 in the presence of Sri Lanka’s consul in Queensland Anton Swan at the Nudgee Junior College Auditorium in Brisbane. Brisbane's singers sang moving Sinhala songs about fathers and mothers including Nanda Malini's "Ammawarune", "Mihimandale Anduru Kuse", H.R. Jothipala's "Me jeewanaye", "Me nonimena divi gamane" and Sunil Edirisinghe's "Devani Budun Lesa”.

All proceeds of this successful show were used to purchase a "Trachea Intubation Fiberscope", a much needed medical equipment to be used in the Cancer Hospital theatre. Costing Rs 1.2 million this equipment was handed over to Dr. Kanishka Karunaratne, Director of the Cancer Hospital by Priyanganie's relatives in Sri Lanka on November 21.

Asteria, all female choral group to present Mosaic

By Shaveen Jeewandara

The melodious harmony of synchronized voices echoes through the halls. "In Greek, Asteria means the stars,” says Mahen Peiris, a professional in the music field. "To reach for the stars is indeed what we aspire, at our next endeavour," he adds.

Mahen is the founder of this female choral group Asteria along with his wife Prashalini Peiris and they are hard at work preparing for their choral performance- Mosaic 2011 on December 4 at the British School auditorium.

Launched two years ago, Asteria had its roots in the school Choir of Methodist College and then grew to encompass members from many other leading schools. The Choir took part in the All-Island Choral Competition held by the Institute of Western Music and Speech last year, and emerged champions of the open category as well as proud winners of the coveted 'Best Overall Performance'.

"The victories at the Choral Competition have fuelled our motivation, and I know what it means for young people to achieve such feats," Mahen states, recalling his own past in the music field. "I was a member of the S. Thomas College choir, and that's where I drew my inspiration from," he says. Having had a brief stint as the choral director in one of the leading churches in Colombo, Mahen later joined the 'Revelations' in 1994. Now he plays a key role in training Asteria.

Prashalini is a professional soprano, who trained under Mary Anne David and holds a Licentiate from the Trinity College of Music, London. Mosaic will feature Asteria in contemporary and classical, and pop choral arrangements. There will be guest performances by the Junior and Intermediate choirs of The Cantabile School of Singing, Rukshan Perera, and Gananath Dassanayaka and friends.

Musical backing will be by Neranjan de Silva, Sumudi Suraweera, Ashane Bernard, and Kisholi Mathiaperanam.

What’s on for the season

Don’t miss "Can't wait for Christmas!!" The 24 member Manado State University Choir directed by Prof. Andre De Quadros performing in Sri Lanka at the invitation of the De Lanerolle Brothers will be seen in an international choral sit down dinner concert "Can't wait for Christmas!!" on November 30 at the Galadari Hotel at 7 p.m.

Joining these two well-known acts will be guest artists Voice Print, Choro Benedicte and The University of Visual & Performing Arts Choir in a feast of Gospel, Soul and light music. For tickets priced at Rs 5,000 and table reservations call 0777 510 455. The Choir will also perform in Kandy on November 27 and Galle on December 2.

Keep a date with LC OGA Christmas dinner

The Ladies' College Old Girls Association will hold their annual Christmas dinner on Monday, December 5 at the Ramada, Colombo. This colourful event will usher in the festive season with plenty of entertainment and fun, including a hilarious skit by Silent Hands, and a performance by the Police Brass Band. There will be prizes and surprises and more for members. Tickets priced at Rs 4,000 are available at the school office or with the committee.

DBU Christmas sale

The Dutch Burgher Union Christmas sale will be held at the Dutch Burgher Union Hall at No.114, Reid Avenue, Colombo 4 on December 4 at 10 a.m. Gift items, garments, sarees, costume jewellery and a special stall with all the home made Burgher delicacies including Lamprais, Breudher, foguetti, asparagus sandwiches, ginger beer, milk wine and a whole lot more will be on sale.

Merry An Singers' annual carol service

The 14th Merry An Singers' annual carol service will be held at the Christian Reformed Church, Galle Road, Wellawatte on December 3 at 7 p.m. Director Mary Anne David has that flair and innovation that lifts the service to being an evening 'extraordinaire' with special choral arrangements interspersed with well-loved congregational carols.

HelpAge greeting cards, much more than pretty pictures

Over the years HelpAge Sri Lanka has successfully marketed greeting cards for Christmas and New Year, the proceeds of which have funded several services to improve the quality of life of elders in Sri Lanka.

These include: a mobile medical unit which provided free medical and eye care facilities to needy elders, restoring fading vision in elders by providing free cataract surgeries at HelpAge Sri Lanka Eye Care Centre in Colombo 6, providing free spectacles to needy elders, programmes on elders rights, programmes on Home Care and Age Care for elders needs, providing Hearing Aid and Medicines and providing Orthopaedic Equipment.

The high quality cards with 23 new designs come as large size greeting cards priced at Rs. 35 and standard size at Rs. 27.50 each. These cards are available at leading super markets and bookshops island wide and also at HelpAge head office 102, Pemananda Mawatha, Raththanapitiya, Boralesgamuwa. Contact: 7926358, 4926948, 2803752 – 4.

Prof. Gunasekera launches his latest book

Prof. Bandusena Gunasekera’s latest book Ath Akuru Hodiya Nohot Liyana Sehella will be launched at the Town Hall, Galle today November 27 at 2 p.m.Prof. Gunasekara is the author of Sinhala Pada Vahara and Sinhala Hodiya Denagan Indura. Ath Akuru Hodiay Nohot Liyana Sehella is a Dayawansa Jayakody Publication.

Craft exhibition by Hilda and friends

Hilda Herath will hold her annual craft exhibition along with her friends at the Girl Guide Headquarters (opposite Public Library) on December 18 at 9 a.m. Hand craft one of a kind items, linen, flower arrangements and trinkets will be on sale.

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