Jehan’s toy show:
All the things we are
The sight was simply awe-inspiring. The
swift-footed dancers clad in colourful costumes performed their act with
such skill that you are left gasping in wonder and vying to see more.
They twirl, leap and flutter across the stage. You never know where the
time had gone for you are transported to a fantasy world of toys coming
A celebration of the human body in its diverse forms, Jehan Aloysius’
Nutcracker is based on Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s original tale, The
Nutcracker. However he had to manipulate the story to suit the modern
context and bring out his own individuality.
* Christopher / Nutcracker - Thusitha Wimalasooriya (Soldier)
* Golden Fairy - Anabella Brochard
* Toby - Chatura Dayananda (Sunera)
* Harry - Indika Bandara (Sunera)
* Clara - Chaya Manawamma
* Nurse - Upeka Daniel
* Toy Robot - Madushanka Seneviratne (Soldier)
* Toy Viking - Herath Padmasiri (Soldier)
* Toy Soldier - Lahiru Nilanka (Sunera)
* Rat King - Indika Bandara (Sunera)
* Blondie - Wyomi Abeywickrema
* Ben - Chatura Dayananda (Sunera)
* Baby Doll and Rag Doll - Upeka Daniel & Anabella Brochard
* Clowns - Sajad Shabdeen and Dineth Bhagya
* Rats - Wyomi, Sajad, Chatura, Upeka & Dineth
* Devised and Choreographed by Jehan Aloysius
* Costumes, Set and Lighting Designed by Jehan Aloysius
* Costumes Stitched by Hilma Salahudeen
* Publicity Material Designed by Dino Corera
Marking 10 years for CentreStage Productions Jehan and co have staged
numerous productions embraced by local theatregoers in the past. One
such groundbreaking production is their An Inspired Swan Lake, staged in
2009 and 2010, which featured soldiers injured in battle. Taking a step
further in that direction Jehan has engaged soldiers from Ranaviru
Sevana and hearing-impaired participants from Sunera Foundation
workshops in Nutcracker. It aims to spread the message of hope and
courage among those who are living with special needs.
“We call this techniques ‘Body Narratives’. It is a novel and refined
form of body language where you explore the beauty of the human body and
present it in its creative form. Each posture, gesture and lift created
by the dancer expands the vocabulary of the physical language. Moreover,
like all languages, the expression of it should be clear and coherent to
be understood, though, like all languages, it could also be used
poetically and lyrically to create an abstract mood or image that
transcends mere communication.
We use theatre to teach the disabled people how to overcome physical
and mental challenges while using additions such as crutches and
wheelchairs as extensions of the physique,” Jehan explained adding that
what is special about this production is that the dancers will be
performing lifts which they have not tried out in An Inspired Swan Lake.
Wyomi Abeywickrema who portrays the elegant blond Blondie said that
most people look at disabled people with pity rather than consider what
they have to offer. “Jehan wants them to be themselves and come out of
their shell. He is such a perfectionist.
He has the scenes visualized in his head. It is only at the end that
he puts the scenes in random order so even we do not know what to expect
till the end,” she mused.
Her counterpart in the tale, Ben doll, is played by Chatura Dayananda
of the Sunera Foundation. Madushanka Seneviratne who gives life to a toy
robot revealed that he had also worked under Anoja Weerasinghe. Both are
part of Jehan’s past productions.
Nutcracker traces an adventure which occurs in a little girl’s
birthday night. Clara receives a wooden nutcracker doll as a birthday
present from Christopher, the houseboy. During play the nutcracker’s leg
was broken off by Clara’s brother. Christopher repairs it but the
children discover that he has a prosthetic leg. Then he proceeds to set
the rat traps. Suddenly there is a sound and the noise of scurrying
feet. Christopher discovers that one of the traps had caught a rat but
the rat, being the evil Rat King, casts a spell to shrink Christopher
down to the size of a rat.
Meanwhile Clara searches for her friend. The golden fairy shrinks
Clara so that she too is the size of a doll. Christopher reappears and
the two take a journey, dodging attacks from the Rat King, meeting the
glamorous Blondie and Ben and bonding with the other toys before
regaining their original size.
Speaking to Daily News ‘Artscope’, Thusitha Wimalasooriya who plays
the lead role as Christopher said that he met Jehan after taking part in
one of his workshops. The Anuradhapura-born soldier had also played a
key role in An Inspired Swan Lake.
Chaya Manawamma who delivers an exceptional performance as the
charming Clara had learnt Kandyan dancing from Veesha de Silva. She
holds a diploma in scientific learning disabilities and is a past pupil
of Musaeus College.
Nutcracker will go on board the Lionel Wendt theatre on April 1, 3
and 4. All the participants are volunteers. The funds will go to One
Trust Sri Lanka, the humanitarian arm of Cargills PLC.
dons a new look
ahead Pictures by Lalith C Gamage