Nishantha De Silva & Rajitha Hettiarachchi’s Play: Grease Yaka Returns

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GREASE YAKA RETURNS

Playwrights & Directors: Nishantha de Silva & Rajitha Hettiarachchi
Group: Ananda Drama, Sri Lanka
Language: English
Duration: 1 hr 05 mins

The Play
Prologue – Fear Walks
Study Partners – Sahani and Arun ‘study’ despite Kalana, when they see their creepy neighbour.
Lu, Lu – Sahani posts a story that goes viral.
Bus Stand – Kanthi and her daughter Charini learn about the grease yaka.
Shoe Shopping – Arukshi is shoe-shopping with Kishan, helped by a greasy salesman.
Lunchtime – Supun, Hansani, Ms. Shriya and Mr. Manjula are public servants. What happened to their dessert?
Channel Surfing – TV shows enthrall the nation. What is this grease disease?
Warriors – Sahani conducts a make-up tutorial, but can ‘darkies’ discuss beauty?
Spilt Coffee – Charini appeals to Arukshi for help against discrimination.
Fairness Treatment – Sahani needs help to become fairer.
Mirror – The politicians are with us.
The Cure – Kanthi seeks medical help for Charini.
Consequences – Riots!
Another Beginning – We look to our leaders.
Epilogue: A Mother’s Love – Is there a cure?

Directors’ Note
The Grease Yaka (grease demon) myth describes scantily clad, grease covered men suspected of crimes ranging from voyeurism to rape to abduction and murder in Sri Lanka. Although no grease yakas were ever caught, grease yaka ‘sightings’ hogged the headlines from time to time, causing widespread alarm and panic, especially during the conflict period. Ananda Drama’s Grease Yaka (2014) examined the emergence and proliferation of fears in the society by using this urban legend as a metaphor and a tool.
Grease Yaka Returns, first staged in 2018, explores the corrosive and sometimes devastating consequences of those fears. It looks at how easily distrust can be sown between various groups in the society through the aggregation of relatively small event and incidents. It looks at how quickly this distrust can morph into social divisions, sometimes even erupting in violence. It holds a mirror, and a warning, to the society.

The Directors & Playwrights
Nishantha de Silva is the founder of Ananda Drama, a non-profit theatre company based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Before Grease Yaka Returns (2018), Nishantha co-wrote and directed the trilingual political satire Picket Republic (2017) and a comic adaptation of Dracula (2015). He produced Grease Yaka (2014) and Grease Yaka Returns (2018) for Ananda Drama. Together with Rajitha, he won the awards for Best Direction and Best Original Script at Sri Lanka’s State Drama Festival 2019 for Grease Yaka Returns, which won a total of 10 awards including Best Play. His other directing credits include The Tempest at The Workshop Players’ Shakespeare in the Park Festival 2017 and Stuart Paterson’s adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s Kensuke’s Kingdom (2013). He holds an M. Phil from Cambridge University and a Fellowship in Directing from Trinity College London.

Rajitha Hettiarachchi joined Ananda Drama as a writer and director following its establishment in 2013. Rajitha co-wrote Grease Yaka (2014) with its director Ruwanthie de Chickera whilst also acting in it. He acted in Stages Theatre’ Group’s Walking Path, which won Best Play and Best Ensemble Cast at the THESPO theatre festival in Mumbai in 2014. Rajitha founded the performance company Idea Couch and was an Art Think South Asia Fellow in 2018. He holds a B.A. in English from Sri Jayawardenepura University and is an Attorney at Law.

The Group
Ananda Drama grew from the work carried out by its founder Nishantha de Silva and other alumni at Ananda College, Colombo, since 2006. With many students involved in the school’s English theatre activities wanting to continue their work in theatre after graduating, Ananda Drama was formed as a non-profit entity in 2014 to showcase their work to the general public.

Cast & Credits
Students                                   Leeth Singhage (Kalana), Eshani Seneviratne (Sahani)
Lakshitha Edirisinghe (Arun),
Mother and Daughter               Dmitri Gunatilake (Kanthi), Dinoo Wickramage (Charini)
Couple                                      Ashini Fernando (Arukshi), Chalana Wijesuriya (Kishan)
Government Servants              Jayavi Jayawardhana (Hansani), Sabreena Niles (Shriya),
Lithmal Jayawardhana (Supun), Gavin Ranasinghe (Manjula)
Opportunists                            Charith Dissanayake, Nandun Dissanayake
Pemanthi Fernando, Eraj Gunawardena
Ayudhya Gajanayake, Rithmaka Karunadhara
Vidura Manoratne, Malith Kulathilake
Amandi Kulathilake, Hiruni Herath

Designer                                 Jayampathi Guruge
Stage Manager                       Ishtartha Wellaboda

Playwrights & Directors          Nishantha de Silva and Rajitha Hettiarachchi

Contacts
St. Rita’s Road,
Colombo – 00350
Sri Lanka
M: +94 777268164
E: [email protected]
W: www.anandadrama.org

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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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