Saturday, 23 November 2013 00:01
Indu Dharmasena is back with ‘Keeping Up With The Pereras’
By Cheranka Mendis
They are enthusiastic, easily excitable and know (or at least think they know) exactly what is going on in everyone else’s lives. Some peep over walls, other through the slight crack on the side of the gate, and some, more fortunate, have their very own gallery seat to the neighbourhood drama from their high seat at their balconies.
Whatever it may be, nosy neighbours are a menace everyone has to deal with at some point of their lives. While they may agitate you and drive you up the wall, their antics, seen in a different light, may prove to be hilarious. And this is what Indu Dharmasena is highlighting in his new play ‘Keeping Up With The Pereras.’
Indu’s third play for the year, he is staging yet another jab at the hysterical realities of everyday life through seven characters who will, through their narrations, bring to mind your own experiences of dealing with neighbours whose noses always manage to find their way to your front door.
The Pereras are the couple everybody wants to emulate. High-flying and successful, they are the cream of society. It is therefore only natural for the Fernandos to attempt a walk down the same line. How do you enter high society? Perhaps it is in the hosting of a dinner party, having the right kind of ice cream or having the best in interior decoration and furnishing?
Join Dulanthi Fernando (Sanwada Dharmasena) next weekend as she tries to organise an exclusive dinner party for her new friends. Never mind the food and spirits, the biggest challenge is to keep it a secret from the dynamic duo – Cassilda and Menike – her lovely party-loving neighbours, best explained in colloquial terms as ‘real plugs’.
The deaf and the dumb
While they come up with a plan to distract their neighbours, in comes Ramesh Perera’s (Indu Dharmasena) dear uncle Charles (Yasal Ruhunage) on a visit to see his much-loved nephew and his wife. Charles is the typical old uncle figure every family has – deaf and ignorant, with nothing but the best intentions at heart.
What will happen when the dynamic duo meets old Charles? Get ready to dive into a tangle of miscommunication and chaos as they try to comprehend the situation at heart.
The dead and the un-dead
Who died and who didn’t? Who killed and who didn’t? Who lives and who doesn’t? The Police are sniffing a murder case following a phone call from an official’s relative. Will the dynamic duo be able to secure the evidence before it is too late? Find out all these and more as ‘Keeping Up With The Pereras’ unfolds next weekend at the Lionel Wendt.
Meet the cast
Sanwada playing Dulanthi Fernando quipped that according to her real-life husband, who also plays the role of her husband in the play, her character was based on her. “But I disagree,” she laughed, “Certain instances are drawn from what actually happened at home and there are ‘bits’ of me in her, but I am not typically her.”
Dulanthi is not a bad person, she said. “She loves her husband and is a typical housewife.” She is also a people pleaser and secretly wants to outdo the others. “She is just like most of us. Each character has a facet or facets that the audience members will be able to relate to.”
Ramesh’s role is based on some of his aspects in real life mixed with aspects of “husbands we know of,” she added.
Indu has drawn inspiration from his own experiences as well as those of others to put this play together.
“Issues with nosy neighbours are a kind that everyone has had to deal with at some point of their lives, especially when moving houses. Our society is such that people are generally curious, but some others take it to the extremes. The play was written based on stories we have heard and what we have experienced,” he said. “People across ages will be able to identify with the characters.” Keshiya Leitch plays the rich and sophisticated Apeaksha Perera – the Mrs. Perera in the Perera clan. “I am a socialite, born rich and married into a rich family. I don’t brag but see fit to make statements that others could think amounts to bragging,” she said. “I don’t really notice that the Fernandos are trying to copy my lifestyle. This is something I was born into.”
Senalli Ranathunga, playing Menike Mendis, one of the neighbours, had this to say about her character: “We are from the middle class. Highly excitable and love to see what is going on in the Fernandos’ household. I notice everything and will find enough ways to get into the house. I am a typical Sri Lankan nosy neighbour.” Chithranga Kariyawasan plays Cassilda Silva, her partner-in-crime.
Uncle Charles or Charlie is an ‘old kukula’ with a hearing problem, Yasal Ruhunage said. “The story unfolds and I have a different version of it in my head; and I make things worse because I am obviously deaf even though I don’t want to believe it.” On second thoughts, he added that Charlie in his younger (and better) days would have been a hit with the girls. “I must have been flamboyant in my youth, with lots of girls running after me. So I flirt, innocently, even with the nosy neighbours.” Anushan Selvarajah plays the role of Kapila, an in-law of the Fernandos who comes to pick up the ‘old kukula’ to keep him away from the dinner party for the Pereras. “I have just come back from Dubai and get tangled up in the confusion. It is hilarious.”Indu says.
Free lessons for life
Learn the best excuses to creep into a neighbour’s house, the best way to confuse the already-confused and how to hide from your neighbours. If you are lucky, you might even get the number of the best furnishing house in Colombo – after all, you will never know who you might have to impress next.
Where are the classes, you say? Lionel Wendt, next weekend, 7:30 p.m. sharp. The demand for the classes is such that they are now issuing tickets to secure seating. Grab yours at the Wendt.
Tickets are priced at Rs. 1,500, Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 800 downstairs and balcony tickets (unreserved) are sold at Rs. 500.
Pix by Upul Abayasekara