Buddhika Damayantha’s THE DEPARTMENT

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Playwright & Director: Buddhika Damayantha
Group: Red Wings Theatre Group, Sri Lanka
Language: English / Sri Lankan
Duration: 1 hr 30 mins

The Play
The Department is a play inspired by Harold Pinter’s The Hothouse. The director of the department, Roote is stressed to the point that he is losing his sanity. His subordinate Gibbs is so ambitious that he undercuts his authority; subordinate Lush is an alcoholic; and his mistress, Miss Cutts, is scheming and having an affair with Gibbs. One of the patients at the house is supposedly murdered, and another is raped and impregnated, so Roote assigns Gibbs to investigate the matter. However, all evidences point to Roote as the perpetrator, and Gibbs takes over, leading to further mayhem.

Director’s Note
The play is wrapped around a disoriented officer in a certain department of a powerful state where the rulers are all out to remain in power using unacceptable ways and means. The psychiatric unit run by this department calls patients by numbers and not by names. A retired dictatorial army officer by the name Roots is in charge of this unit and its officers are called by indicative short names such Gibbs, Labb, Kates, Tubb, Pate etc… Patient number 6457 passes away in a mysterious suspicious manner, and in a very short time an employee of the institute gives birth to a child. Murderers and rapists are freely moving in the society. At the end Gibbs who is meeting with the superior higher officers of the department complains that all the officers except him were murdered by the patients. This raises the suspicion that Gibbs himself did these….

The Director & Playwright
Buddhika Damayantha is one of the few theatre directors in Sri Lanka who is engaged full-time in this profession. He has directed 18 Sinhala plays, out of which 17 are adaptations of world renowned classics, such as the works of Beckett, Albee, Williams, Schisgal, Fugard, Pinter, Arbuzov, Tendulkar, Ibsen, Simon, Rivera and Shakespeare. During his illustrious career, Buddhika Damayantha and his plays have won many significant awards at the state drama festivals held annually in Sri Lanka. Buddhika Damayantha is a dedicated theatre enthusiast who strives to uphold his responsibility as an artiste and works for the betterment of his profession and the quality of Sri Lankan theatre. He dedicates a lot of his time conducting workshops and various other activities to enforce theatre education among youth in Sri Lanka and to invoke the enthusiasm for thought-provoking theatre in society.

The Group
Red Wings is a theatre group actively contributing in the field since last decade. It makes efforts to promote plays in the country by conducting workshops for beginners and introducing various new trends and significant changes in the field. Being a trainer as well as an ardent learner, the group has conducted many training sessions and workshops in the past. During the period when the country was severely affected by civil war, Red Wing made a tremendous effort to preserve Sinhala stage and attract the audience. One of the main objectives of the group is to inculcate love for the stage among the people.

Cast & Credits
Roote: Mahendra Weeraratne
Miss Cutts: Kithmini Hemachandra
Gibbs: Sumith Rathnayake
Lobb / Tubb: Nandun Alwis
Lush: Arunodh Wijesinghe
Lamb: Buddhika Damayantha

Make-up:  Shiran Lakshitha
Lighting: Kapila Kithsiri
Set /Costume Design: Buddhika Damayantha
Production Manager: Pamoda Wimalasiri
Sound Mixing: Pamoda Wimalasiri
Stage Management: Chandana Irugal Bandara
Assistant / Prompter: Dhanushka Chinthaka, Mihili Punsala
Publicity/Photography: Pamoda Wimalasiri

Director / Writer: Buddhika Damayantha

Watch Meet the Director segment for this play

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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