|Saturday, 6 April 2002|
sets stage for novel drama experience
Years ago, he won the best actor award at the State Drama Festival for portraying fear of death on stage. For Jackson Anthony, it wasn't that difficult to portray. After all, he had experienced the fear of death for real, along with his wife, on a dark and desolate night. It was in 1986, the day before the award winning drama - Marasad (by Sugathapala de Silva) - was staged that Jackson Anthony found himself at the sharp of a knife, fearing for his life. He was returning home with his wife in Ragama when a group of drug addicts tried to kill them both. But Jackson lived on to tell the tale.
" It was a moment that gave me the fear of death in real life and I projected that real life experience (tension) while acting in Marasad, which eventually earned me the best actor award," Jackson told the Stage and Screen, recalling satisfactory moments in his acting life.
From then onwards, Jackson won a number of awards for the best actor in dramas, teledramas and films at various festivals. He has acted in nearly 10 stage dramas and a similar number of films and teledramas.
Jackson always selects films and dramas. "I act in characters which are only to my liking and I am prepared to wait for my characters," he comments adding that his patience has always brought him better results. Those few characters are firmly rooted in the minds of the people.
Like many artistes, he started his art life at school. Jackson proudly introduces himself as a product of the free education system. "I was nourished by folk arts in my village and have been actively participating in dancing since childhood."
His talents were really sharpened when he entered the Colombo University where he acted in several dramas. His first break was Lucien Bulathsinhala's Tharawo Igilethi. This follows dramas such as Lomahansa, Mora, Ath, Madhura Jawanika and Dhawala Bheesana.
His films include Guru Gedara, Wisi Dela, Ayoma, Tharanaya, Loku Duwa, Bhawa Duka, Bhawa Karma and Aswesuma. He also directed the film Julietge Bhoomikawa. Jackson prefers to watch the movements of animals. "That helps me to shape up my acting, specially the display of emotions encountered in real life. I always prefer to express inner feelings of the character."
He lamented the present situation where there is no place for those aspiring to learn acting." The grammar of acting should be studied as a subject so there should be an academy to cater to this need."
" At the same time, our cinema should go beyond the present story telling concept, exploring new avenues and opening its eyes to world cinema."
True to his word, Jackson is now preparing to present a new kind of experience. A new film based on a traditional woman dancer of " Diggai Netuma " (a traditional dance in Ratnapura area) will shortly be directed by Jackson. " I have already completed the script and shooting will commence soon. It will offer an insight to our traditional dancing."
Jackson firmly believes that the local stage could be developed to the level of the international theatre. "We must make our best efforts to do this. Otherwise local drama will stagnate at the same point. We must do something, there is no point just criticising and blaming."
In line with this objective, he plans to stage a new drama based on the much talked about Kuveni's story. " My intention is to take Kuveni's story to the international stage and draw their attention to this field. At the moment, I am giving final touches to the script of that drama."
Brilliant mind, beautiful film
compiled by Baratha Malawaraarachchi
This year's Oscars, as always, was rife with allegations of corruption. All for 90-minutes of make-believe fiction, you might say. But this year, one of the leading contenders was about a living person. But detractors of A Beautiful Mind did not think twice about dragging in the real-life hero of the story, the brilliant mathematician John Nash into the Oscars controversy.
The film, for which Russel Crowe (pictured) narrowly missed an Oscar amidst all the sleaze, is the true life story of John Forbes Nash Jr.(now aged 73), a mathematical genius and Nobel Prize winner, who simply wants to think - about theories, about life, about love-if only his own mind would let him do it. if only Schizophrenia would allow him, that is. Check out this film, which will be released on region 1 DVD soon.
We first meet John in 1948, entering Princeton University as a graduate student. He rarely goes to class and calculates his mathematical theories on dorm room and library windows. Most of his colleagues steer clear of him, except his roommate, Charles (Paul Bettany), who tries to lighten him up. John eventually closes in on a hypothesis for an economic theory and becomes a star in the math world.
He lands a prestigious position at MIT, meets his wife, Alicia (Jennifer Connelly) and consults for the Pentagon, cracking impossible codes no one else can. He meets William Parcher (Ed Harris), a CIA agent who brings John in on a top-secret government operation to catch Russian spies-or so we think.
Unknown to those around him, Nash's "beautiful mind" is descending into madness and his grip on reality is fading. Alicia gets him psychiatric help, but the drugs and shock therapy dull him so senselessly, it's painful to watch. All Nash wants is his mind back, so he begins to fight his illness on his own terms.
Through the years, John's delusions don't necessarily go away, but he learns to deal with them sanely. More importantly, in Nash's later life, he finally gains the respect and admiration he deserves from his peers. Critics have called Crowe "a wonder" in this film.
He really gets under Nash's skin, having obviously studied the real-life mathematician's movements and mannerisms carefully. From Nash's walk to the twitches of the mouth to the eyes that never stop moving, he fleshes out a character that melds perfectly with the real Nash. Crowe shows us the horror of being locked in a mind that works brilliantly yet won't let him see things normally.
According to critics, the other standout in Mind is Connelly. As Nash's beleaguered wife, Alicia, she finally gets to shine. Convincingly portrays a woman in love with a man whose mind is great, if troubled.
As for director Ron Howard, they are calling A Beautiful Mind quite possibly the "best thing" he has ever done. In delving into the mind of a paranoid-schizophrenic, he doesn't simply show us a crazy person but lets us experience the madness right along with Nash. He has really done justice to Nash and his biographer Sylvia Nasar, on whose book the film was loosely based.
Produced by Lake House