This review was originally written for and published on Groundviews. ### I was elated to take delivery of my copy of The Cage by Gordon Weiss yesterday. Having pre-ordered it off Amazon UK, I fully expected it to be held up by Customs officials in Sri Lanka, given the incendiary issues the book is anchored […]
“I strive to preserve the pure traditional styles, and to evolve new national dance forms based on the Kandyan technique, so that in the fullness of time a truly national ballet may emerge out of our humble efforts.” - Chitrasena I recently asked the illustrious Bijayini Satpathy, Director of the Odissi Gurukul at Nrityagram how she […]
The late review is at an advantage, in that it is informed by the published critiques of others and subsequent responses online and in print. In this respect, watching Tracy Holsinger’s The Travelling Circus on the last day of its run was to juxtapose the live performance against reviews that dismissed the production as highfalutin nonsense and […]
“The story of the ballet is simple, but carries a very timely message. It shows how an enemy should not discourage and weaken you, and how a common enemy like a natural disaster makes everyone dependent on each other. And finally it highlights the fact that you can even bring yourself to help your worst […]
“We give you something that is very traditional and something that at the same time is not. This is discipline. You can’t do this without thinking” Chitrasena, quoted in Bandula Jawayawardhana’s essay “The Meaning of Chitrasena” published in Nŗtya Pūjā: A Tribute to Chitrasena 50 years in the dance To witness first and then attempt […]
Chat rooms can be at once engaging and frightening, faceless yet full of character, distant yet palpably close and real, and often perceived to be, by those who frequent them regularly, a real connection to a world beyond the confines of one’s own occasionally claustrophobic life and relationships.Escape through death is a leitmotif in the production…. This of course is a larger discussion that I think serious directors such as Tracy should take up with a broader audience with a view to creating a foundation for artistes to produce their works that is not wholly reliant on the largesse of commercial enterprise.I came into Chatroom expecting it to be a play aimed very much at a teenage audience, with necessarily, a light treatment of social concerns.
The effort expended to convince those far removed from ground realities, the author notes repeatedly, was indicative of serious structural flaws in the UNHCR, resulted in stifling the agency’s mandate to protect civilians caught up in violent conflict, and at times even threatened to exacerbate the human tragedy by cutting off vital communications links between affected areas in the North and East of Sri Lanka and operations in Colombo.It is fascinating to read the author’s battles against those unfavourably disposed to the radical innovations he proposed for civilian protection in Sri Lanka and how, if this book is to be believed, the author facilitated a new paradigm of civilian protection within UNHCR by expanding its mandate to protect and look after those unable to escape hostilities, those displaced on account of it and those unable or unwilling to move from conflict zones…. However, the conceptual development and subsequent operation of open relief centres (in Madhu and Pesalai), food convoy’s led by international UNHCR staff without military escort in order to feed displaced persons in Madhu and the active protection role of the UNHCR at the source of the conflict, engaging with the dynamics that were triggering the IDP and refugee outflows (protective neutral engagement), gentleman’s agreements with the Army to ensure the protection of those in the open relief centres, the financial stringency of the operations (under US$ 1.5 million), the deployment of a small but dedicated team (7 persons) and the strict neutrality of the UNHCR are those that are fascinating to read, ennobling to those still involved in civilian protection in the North and the East of Sri Lanka, and humbling when we recognise that the author, sometimes single-handedly and doggedly, pursued a vision within an often hostile UNHCR bureaucracy to alleviate the suffering of those on the ground in Sri Lanka facing violent conflict.
In that time he has worked on many local and foreign productions and has come to be recognized as a promising TV director and Filmmaker.Chatting with Delon brought back memories of College drama and a renewed sense of hope for a resurgence of good English theatre in Sri Lanka through a new generation of playwrights.1.
…What role, if any, does theatre in particular, and arts and culture in general, have in conflict resolution?Well, unless you can get the people making the big decisions about the war to act in a play and kill them all during it, I would say a very small role.
Sujatha and her colleagues’ ragging in The Ginirella Conspiracy are features that colour the appreciation of not just Jaypura University within the text, but bear more serious reflection in light of the plight of the University system in Sri Lanka in the real world and its inability to deliver a system of education based on free thought, free expression and political association sans violent parochialism…. Vacillating between parable, myth, biography and stream-of-consciousness, this is at best middling fiction and a far cry from texts such as Suvimalee Karunaratne’s Vesak 1971:Did it takeSpouting bloodAnd tongues in guns To strafe out minds awake?The visceral reality given form by a sheer economy of words in Vesak 1971 is wholly absent from The Ginirella Conspiracy.
We live in multiple ghettos – our lives circumscribed though overlapping and inter-connected comfort zones based on social class, wealth, proficiency in English, religion, address, education, gender, ethinicity etc. Our interactions with the “other” are accidental – we are often neither prepared for such interactions nor do we give them second thought once over…. Are the characters who survive the film any better than how we saw them at first?We aren’t really sure – Crash collides with the traditional Hollywood denounement of simplicity and restored order and instead, for a moment, shows us that redemption, though possible, is also perhaps fleeting.After all, the films end with an unresolved crash.Also found this to be a useful exchange on the movie.