Indu Dharmasena is back with his well loved series that made its debut in the 90s By Shaveen Jeewandara Playwright and director Indu Dharmasena hardly allows any time between plays- maybe a month or two between each show to allow his audiences to collect themselves after incessant laughing fits. Well, it’s 2013 and Indu’s ready [...]

The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Now, Tommiya comes to Colombo to get posh and all that

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Indu Dharmasena is back with his well loved series that made its debut in the 90s

By Shaveen Jeewandara

Playwright and director Indu Dharmasena hardly allows any time between plays- maybe a month or two between each show to allow his audiences to collect themselves after incessant laughing fits. Well, it’s 2013 and Indu’s ready to stage his latest side-splitting comedy “Madai Tommiya Help Kala” – the newest, and believe it or not, the 11th play in the hilarious Tommiya series.

Trouble with Tommiya: The cast at rehearsals earlier this week. Pix by Mangala Weerasekera

The Tommiya plays date back to the early 90’s when Indu first dished out the instant hit “Madai Tommiya Dubai Giya”. Tommy is the typical na´ve country bumpkin who makes the transition from the ‘gama’ to ‘kolambah’. “His naivete is what captures the audience-with his little mannerisms that add to the effect,” Indu says. Indu had the notion of the Tommiya plays in mind but was momentarily held back in the wake of Richard De Zoysa’s demise, but influenced by plays such as “Hello Dolly”, went on to create “Tommiya”.

“The plots are always haphazard but crafty enough to make the audience understand what’s going on,” Indu says. Tommiya has to come to grips with the ‘Colombo Style’ which includes restricting yourself from telling the truth out of fear of hurting others’ feelings and always, always bad-mouthing people behind their backs – because saying it to their faces is rude. “There is no major underlying theme in these plays, but it can be said that the so-called civilised crowd can always be the most fake.” Laughing over little nuances of the play Indu cheerily describes the happenings of this latest episode.

This time around, Tommiya is in Colombo to learn English and become fashionable. His mentor Andana Silva (hairdresser /dress designer) is not happy with Tommy’s somewhat slow progress and insists that Tommy should speak in English at all times.

This combined with the arrival of Andana‘s friend Nilmini who lives in the US leads to Tommy practically murdering the Queen’s English. Andana and Tania (Andana’s able assistant) are concerned when Nilmini’s ex-boyfriend Govinda Suraweera suddenly shows up after dumping Nilmini ten years ago to marry a rich politician’s daughter. Even though their intention is to keep Govinda away from Nilmini, the well-meaning Tommy in his keenness to help ruins everything, at one point threatening to post excerpts of past love letters on Nilmini’s facebook profile.

One misunderstanding leads to another. With Tommy’s help, the highly strung Mahesh (a hairdresser), Govinda’s boisterous bodyguard Rocky, regular clients Saro M. and Saro P. all manage to disrupt the smooth running of the Andana Salon.

The colourful cast comprises Indu Dharmasena who plays the lovable and na´ve Tommy, Abbasali Rozais who brings to life Andana Silva, Andana’s assistant and hairdresser played by Sanjana Selvarajah and the flustered hairdresser Mahesh played by Yasal Ruhunage. Sanwada Dharmasena takes on the role of Nilmini, Andana’s friend from the US. The ever so interesting clients of the salon, Saro P, Saro M & Anu are played by Ruwendi Wakwella, Nihili Senarath and Oshini Gunawardana respectively. Nilmini’s ex-boyfriend Govinda is played by Anushan Selvarajah and his somewhat uncouth and aggressive body-guard/henchman Rocky is played by Anoop Kapukotuwa.

“Madai Tommiya Help Kara” will premiere at the Lionel Wendt Theatre on January 18, 19 and 20 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are now on sale at the Lionel Wendt and are priced at Rs.1500, Rs.1000, Rs. 800 and Balcony (unreserved) Rs.500.




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