Nishantha De Silva & Rajitha Hettiarachchi’s Play: Grease Yaka Returns
GREASE YAKA RETURNS
Playwrights & Directors: Nishantha de Silva & Rajitha Hettiarachchi
Group: Ananda Drama, Sri Lanka
Duration: 1 hr 05 mins
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?
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.
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
St. Rita’s Road,
Colombo – 00350
M: +94 777268164