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Date, Month 1999

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Thomians flying high

By Ruhanie Perera

The cast was not sitting in little cliques in their school hall. Instead they were in one group, sharing jokes and swapping experiences and they evidently took this 'bond' with them when they went back to rehearsing. This is the cast of "Fly in the Ointment", a production by the Drama Society of S. Thomas' College, Mt. Lavinia.

The Drama Society of S. Thomas' College is in its 127th year and is heir to a rich history. Every year the Society is responsible for a College production - the more recent being "Playing Doctor" and "The Play".

"Fly in the Ointment", their latest is by Derek Benfield, who is no stranger to the Thomian Drama Society as they have performed some of his plays before. Director Vinodh Senadheera, who had been considering other scripts, feels that this had the advantage of a rather chaotic but very good storyline which is enhanced by the diverse characters - "especially the female roles".

The play is about a fairly dignified Minister of Environment (Jivan Goonetilleke), his one-track mistress (Arrvindha Salwatura), his jealous wife (Sanil de Alwis) and her love-struck admirer (Thavanga Wimalasuriya) who are thrown into a chaotic situation by fate, circumstance, incriminating photographs and lingerie.

The effeminate pizza delivery boy (Jayan Goonetilleke) and the policewoman with burning desires (Rajindh Perera) complicate matters further.

The cast was unanimous that they had absolutely nothing in common with the characters they played. Said Thavanga Wimalasuriya, "I'm definitely not like my character...especially the love-struck part." But that is what they found most interesting about acting. "You have a chance to put your personality aside and be someone else."

The cast has been involved in theatre before and "they are a talented bunch,"says Vinodh. Arrvindha Salwatura and Sanil de Alwis have had the most amount of experience and have played an array of female roles.

This is the first time that Rajindh Perera will be playing a female role and to him "it's the little gestures that make the big difference." "Life as a minister is not too bad," laughs Jivan Goonetilleke and his brother Jayan feels that once you get around the initial difficulty, acting can be quite an experience.

The cast also handles the publicity and the set construction. "That is how I was trained," says Vinodh "and I am thankful for that training." What is unique about this cast is that they are all from the same class and thus they share a special bond.

Vinodh Senadheera who is an old boy of St. Thomas' College has been helping with the college productions for the past ten years. "I learned everything I know from school and that is why I have come back to help," says Vinodh who hopes that the boys will do likewise.

So for those who are interested in sitting back and having a good long laugh, 'Fly in the Ointment' will be performed on October 1, 2 and 3 at the Lionel Wendt at 7.30 p.m. Tickets are being sold at the Wendt and at S. Thomas' College.

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