The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Something new from something old

Indu Dharmasena is ready to stage ‘Just Like Old Times’ , a play written in the ’90s

Indu Dharmasena’s ‘Just Like Old Times’ is on next weekend at the Lionel Wendt. Starring Indu himself along with a stellar cast of familiar faces in local theatre, this romantic comedy is being staged for the first time.

The story revolves around Rahul and Sunila, who have been polite strangers to each other following their divorce. Despite their best efforts to stay out of each other’s way, they’re brought together by the failing health of Sunila’s grandfather Edward. It seems Rahul is the sole trustee of Edward’s will, a dilemma that forces them once again to work with each other in sorting matters out.

But their so-called relationship is put to test by the appearance of Sunila’s admirer Cecil and the next door neighbour Niro, who does not bother to disguise her feelings for Rahul, dropping in frequently to meet him. Is Rahul and Sunila’s apparent antagonism towards each other just a fašade? “You need to watch the play to find out,” says Indu with a smile. “It’s about how people can love each other but still fight like enemies.”

Indu wrote the play in the early 90’s, a time when mobile phones and emails were not commonplace. “I had to rewrite and update the play. It wasn’t an easy process either as I had typed it on an ancient typewriter and it had to be scanned and typed out once again!”
Indu was meant to be directing and starring in another play, ‘Beauty and the Beast’, but when that was delayed due to unavoidable reasons, the time was right for this production.

“I’ve staged my plays at the Wendt forever and didn’t want to let them down,” Indu says. “So I looked for a script that we could put together in a few weeks and ‘Just Like Old Times’ conveniently made an appearance.” Despite the short notice, he declares himself ‘very happy’ with his cast’s performance.

The play stars Indu, Sanwada, Abbasali Rozais, Wasaam Ismail, Chris Sosa, Sanajan Selvarajah, Ishkey and Danu. Catch them on July 20, 21 and 22 from 7.30 p.m. at the Lionel Wendt. Tickets and box-plan at the Wendt.

Love-hate: A play about relationships. Pic by Susantha Liyanawatte

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