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‘Seven Decades of Sri Lanka’ at the Wendt on 5 and 6 July

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Saturday, 1 July 2017 00:00



To highlight the singular events that changed the course of Sri Lanka’s history, Stages Theatre Group presents the most recent version of their ongoing socio-political drama Dear Children, Sincerely (DCS) at the Lionel Wendt on 5 and 6 July at 7 p.m. 

Directed and written by Ruwanthie de Chickera, and titled ‘Dear Children, Sincerely… – Seven Decades of Sri Lanka’, the play was made in an effort to share the experiences of the people who were present during the different key historical events from the 1940s to the 2000s. 

The play is a highly-charged ensemble performance consisting of a cast full of well-established actors and talented newcomers. It takes the audience on a journey through seventy years of Sri Lanka’s recent history.  The play explores how it evolves, and how memory works; focussing on what people retain, how they retain it, what gets carried on and why things get erased.

Talking about the name of the show, a cast member says, “The aim here is to educate and inform a generation that is much younger who possibly know very little or nothing about these events that are possibly life changing mind changing.”

It is closely related to the feeling one gets while listening to their grandparents talk about their past, their life before war began. This significance given to story-telling is why the cast in the play talk directly to the audience rather than to each other. 

Created through conversations with senior citizens born in the 1930s, and through their stories, the piece traces the dramatic socio-political journey of the Sri Lankan people, from Independence in the 1940s to the end of the war in 2009. This allows their account can be documented and archived in the hope of turning into art and preserved to inform, educate, and entertain a generation that wasn’t alive in the times of struggle.

The determination to cover so many diverse and different aspects of Sri Lanka’s struggle for peace is evident. Its main aim is to share information from people who will be no more. And these events changed the face of Sri Lanka, while also impacting and influencing major decisions. 

The project has toured within and outside Sri Lanka since 2015. The first DCS show was on Sri Lankan and Rwandan histories, and was staged in Kigali at the Ubumuntu Arts Festival in 2015.  DCS shows have since toured in Kerala, Jammu, New Delhi and Mumbai.  Performances have also taken place in Ireland and the UK, and were adopted by ASHTAR – the Theatre International Youth Festival, Palestine in 2016.

The current Seven Decades show was first performed at the University of Visual and Performing Arts in November, 2016, in collaboration with Mind Adventures and was supported by the Office of National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR). 

The show will be performed in English, Tamil, and Sinhala. 

Pic courtesy Prauda Buwaneka


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