Defining reconciliation

Saturday, 2 April 2011 00:11 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Famed for staging one-of-a-kind experimental and political works over the years, fringe theatre group Mind Adventures Theatre Company is set to stage yet another memorable and unique theatre experience with ‘Rondo’. Described as a tragicomedy about choices and change, the production is directed by Tracy Holsinger with Arun Welandawe-Prematilleke.

Sponsored by the Sunethra Bandaranaike Trust, it is part of the Trust’s new initiative ‘(Un)making Time’, established to support of new theatre making projects. A second play sponsored by the Trust is also slated to unfold onstage this month, ‘My Other History’ directed by Jake Oorloff of Floating Space Theatre Company.

Since its establishment in 1995, the Trust has supported performance artists through this grant for over a decade. Having held off the award for two years now, the Trust rethought its strategy moving from calling for applications from artists, to awarding the grant through invitation. Tracy Holsinger and Jake Oorloff are the first recipients of the grant through invitation.

Entrusted with the theme of “reconciliation”, the two directors were tasked with developing original work and their approaches have been both varied and similar.

Drawing inspiration from the works of Akira Kurasawa, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Sherwood Anderson and Loius de Bernieres, and using the device of the Unreliable Narrator, “Rondo” is a piece of devised theatre that is allegorical and non-linear in structure.

A stranger comes across a small town that has been rendered almost inanimate in the aftermath of a violent tragedy. As he unravels the story of what happened, history begins to repeat itself and this symbolic community is faced with questions they must confront: do they continue to make the mistakes inherited from their past or are they able to step out of a cycle that has been mindlessly adhered to.

Tracy’s approach to the theme is to remain as objective as possible while looking at the concept of reconciliation and what that process entails, deciding not to make specific references to the war as for her, it is such a sensitive, emotional issue. In some ways she feels that it was virtually impossible to remain objective and analytical about a theoretical process by setting something within that landscape. She speaks of how “reconciliation” is spoken about so frequently. Yet, she does see is a very broad theme, a very utopian idea – that of reconciliation – emerges very ambiguous in interpretation, which to her mind evokes a number of questions - what does reconciliation mean to a community that is made of different people? Can a diverse community with diverse perspectives really reconcile? Then again, can there be this one nation and one people?

“Rondo” will explore these questions, to which there are no definitive answers but many different and varied perspectives. The play centers on a town that is crippled in the aftermath of a violent incident in their recent history. The play asks the audience to look at the ideas of community and the individual by presenting very personal and contradictory perspectives of this one pivotal incident.  The play encourages audiences to be objective, to not come with one set perception but to be opened to varied perspectives.

“Rondo” will be performed by Brandon Ingram, Venuri Perera, Ruvin de Silva, Tehani Chitty, Subha Wijesiriwardena, Arun Welandawe-Prematilleke, Benjamin Aluwihare and Kimaya de Silva and will be held at the Punchi Theatre, Borella from 7 April -12 April from 8.00 pm to 9.30 pm. Tickets are available at the Punchi Theatre and Park Street Mews from March 28.