Anasuya Subasinghe’s MY SWEET ROTTEN HERITANCE

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Playwright & Director: Anasuya Subasinghe

Group: Salt Theatre Company, Sri Lanka

Language: English

Duration: 2 hr 30 mins

The Play

Welcome to the extraordinary world of Kōlam! The past meets the present and strangely familiar stories unfold in a patchwork of bittersweet encounters. Lǣli Kōlama, the man bearing a plank of wood, crosses the ocean to arrive on foreign shores with the hope of becoming a deity. In the wake of neo-nationalist ethos, Diyasēna Kōlama presents himself as a self-appointed saviour, equipped with a master plan to outplay the evil forces threatening his race and religion. Weighed down by her children and their children, Attamma Kōlama endures the adored burdens and fears of the archetypal Sri Lankan grandmother. Vanda Kōlama, the praying mantis, whose palms meet in habitual genuflection, has found a method of survival in the many interpretations of the namaskāra. Gandhabba Kōlama wanders between death and rebirth, seeking justice for those who have been disappeared through the troublesome history of the Island. Lǣeli Kōlama returns to the arena, still hopeful of becoming a god. But urged by the Narrator, he has little choice but to take on the role of the Garā Demon responsible for ‘mopping up’ the arena and concluding the performance.

Director’s Note

Kōlam, once a popular secular Sinhalese dance-theatre tradition of Sri Lanka, was performed in the outdoors, incorporation a large repertoire of masks, traditional low-country dance, yak-bera percussion, song, satire, Buddhist cosmology, and the influence of exorcism rituals. Both didactic and entertaining in nature, the Kōlam practitioner was inspired by his social and political landscape in bringing narratives to life in the arena. My Sweet Rotten Heritance is a political satire that attempts to reimagine this moribund Kōlam practice beyond its ‘fixed’ repertoire, by introducing new masks and narratives familiar to the contemporary spectator. Inter lacing political, historical and mythological accounts, and reinterpreting them in today’s context, the play explores the perform ability of Kōlamas a ‘living’, ‘evolving’ performance practice.

The Director & Playwright

Anasuya Subasinghe is a Sri Lankan academic in performance studies, a playwright, theatre practitioner, and film actor. She has received the award for Best Female Performance at the National Festival of Theatre in Sri Lanka and has won several national awards as Upcoming Female Actor for her role in the international award-winning Sri Lankan film, Ho Gānā Pokuna (The Singing Pond).  Anasuya has worked in both the Sinhala and English language theatres of Sri Lanka over the past 20 years, and has interests ranging from masked theatre, physical theatre, solo performance, autobiographical performance and Sri Lankan traditional theatre and ritual performance. Anasuya completed her Doctoral degree in Performance Studies at Victoria University Melbourne Australia where she was awarded a Postgraduate Research Scholarship. She has since returned to her home country to continue her work as an academic and performance practitioner and is currently employed as a visiting lecturer at the University of the Visual and Performing Arts in Colombo.

The Group

Salt Theatre Company was established by playwright, director and actor Anasuya Subasinghe as an independent theatre ensemble that engages in practice as research. My Sweet Rotten Heritance, the debut theatrical Endeavour of the Company, was originally produced in 2017 as the performance component of Anasuya’s Doctoral Degree. Well received by a multicultural audience, Salt Theatre returned to Melbourne in July 2018 for two more successful performances of the play. Composed of an ensemble of young, dynamic performers, Salt Theatre aims to present theatrical works of high standard that are socially and politically incisive, creatively challenging, and most certainly entertaining.

CAST AND CREDITS

Narrator: Anasuya Subasinghe

Lǣli Kōlama: Jithendra Vidyapathy

Diyasēna Kōlama: Ishara Wickramasinghe

Attamma Kōlama: Stefan Thirimanne

Vanda Kōlama: Stefan Thirimanne

Gandhabba Kōlama : Dinupa Kodagoda

Musician: Nadika Weligodapola

Music: Nadika Weligodapola

Choreography: Jithendra Vidyapathy

Mask Design: Anasuya Subasinghe

Mask Illustrations: Trevor Stacpool, SujeewaWeerasinghe

Mask Design Development & Painting: Sirimal Sanjeewa Kumara, Sujeewa Weerasinghe

Mask Carving: Thuresh Manjula

Backdrop Art: Sirimal Sanjeewa Kumara

Costume Design: Dinushika Senevirathne

Puppet Mask Carving: Sumith Jayawarnana

Puppet Making: Tilaka Subasinghe

Set Design: Anasuya Subasinghe

Set Construction: Gamini Ranasinghe

Lights Design & Operation: Anuradha Mallawarachchi

Production Managers: Malith Hegoda, Sadhani Rajapakse

Playwright & Director: Anasuya Subasinghe

 

Manohar Khushalani

Manohar Khushalani

Prof. Manohar Khushalani is Currently a Visiting Faculty at Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi. The courses he teaches are: Animation & Graphics, Non-Linear Editing for Film and Radio and Theatre Appreciation.  He has won Excellence in Teaching awards for all the courses he has taught at IIITD Based on a Belief that Culture and Environment are the two keys to global sustainability , Manohar Khushalani has launched two portals: A Portal on Environment and Water called One Vorld at url: www.onevorld.org and two Ezines on Culture called Stage Buzz at url: www.stagebuzz.in & www.stagebuzz.info He has taught extensively in varied subjects such as Dam Safety, Instrumentation, CAD, IT, Animation, Theatre, Newspaper Editing. He has conducted Courses on Environment Management, Water Shed Development, Team Building and Personality Development. He is an Expert Member of Prasar Bharti’s Committee for Grading & Short listing Films for Telecast on all channels of Doordarshan.  He is a Radio Anchor for All India Radio and has moderated several programs for the Rajdhani Channel He is a well-known Theatre Actor/Director and Critic, has been involved in theatre since 1977. He has worked as an actor in over 50 plays with almost every leading director/Actor in the Country including Badal Sircar, Feisal Alkazi, Amal Allana, M.K. Raina, Anuradha Kapoor, Maya Rao, Manohar Singh, Prasanna, Rati Bartholomew and Sushmita Mukherji. He has been active in the social sector as a street theatre activist. As a member of Workshop Theatre, Theatre Union and Prayog, Khushalani has participated in street plays taking up major social issues such as dowry, bride burning, Sati, banned medicinal drugs and communalism. Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist and Can’t Pay Won’t Pay, both directed by him, received rave notices from critics and audiences alike. Other plays directed by him include Badal Sircar’s, Sagina Mahato and Boris Vian’s Empire Builders for Ruchika Theatre Group. Khushalani has also acted in a few films such as Sudhir Mishra's Hazaron Khwaishen Aisi , Shoojit Sircar’s Madras Café and Pradeep Krishan's Annie Gives Those Ones. He is an Animator & Graphics Designer and has directed a number of documentaries. He also held a number of Honorary positions and was President of North India Films Association, He was the Chairman of  Jury for UGC CEC Educational Films Competition and has been on their Preview Committee since last many years. He was on the preview committee of Door Darshan Channel 3, was a visiting Professor at National School of Drama, New Delhi, and Film & Television Institute of India, Pune, AJKMCRR, Jamia Milia Islamia and Professor in Media at FICT, Delhi  He has judged a large number of Drama Competitions and conducted a number of Theatre / Management Games Workshops with Institutions such as AIIMS, NTPC, CWPRS, NWA, Karve Nari Prakshishan Sansthan, FICT, IIT, MAMC, Gargi College, KNC, Tagore International School and Vivekananda School. He is a Theatre Critic for IIC Diary, has also been a Columnist with Midday and Pioneer Daily and wrote Column's Called Culture Cocktail and Footlights Respectively. He was also the Guest Editor for an issue on Folk Theatre of ICCR Journal Horizons. He has written for Times of Indian, Hindustan Times, Blitz, Hard News, Hindu Business Line, Theatre India & Art Times. He has designed dams and hydraulic structures for the Government. He is a programmer and has developed Engineering design software in Fortran. He is a co-author of Irrigation Practice & Design (Vol 1 to5 - 1500 pages) published by Oxford & IBH and sponsored by National Book Trust. He has been a Director, Environment and Sociology, at the National Water Academy, Khadakwasla and Director, Environment Management Directorate, Central Water Commission and Member Secretary, National Environmental Monitoring Committee for River Valley Projects. He was also Director of Instrumentation Directorate in the Dam Safety Organisation. He was Chief General Manager and Head of Water Resources at Scott Wilson and is an accredited consultant with numerous other organizations He is a Delhi Public School, BITS Pilani, IIT Delhi and FTI Pune Alumini. He was also the President of BITS Pilani Alumni Association, Pune.

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