Blood Brothers on stage | Daily News

Blood Brothers on stage

Colombo International School (CIS) is ready to deliver another scintillating performance with their adaptation of Blood Brothers. The thespians of CIS are working hard to put on an unforgettable performance as they have done in the past. These students are eager to put on a top class performance. Dramatic Moves meets up with the dramatists of CIS who love drama with passion.

“The latest production we are doing is called Blood Brothers and it is an adaptation of Blood Brothers and is by the senior students of CIS. It is a tradition here that the final two year students (year 12 and 13), do their own productions. We have the year 7, 8, 9 and10 doing theirs, but this is the highlight of the senior school. Blood Brothers is a lovely musical. It is a fantastic script. It is about these two twins separated at birth unknowingly and it is about their lives. The songs are fantastic and the story is very interesting with a lot of twists. It is on October 26 and 27 and the kids are practicing very hard and it is a much looked forward event at CIS,” said CIS, Teacher in Charge of Drama, Vinod Senadeera.

When entering the world of the performing arts, you have a sort of self-awakening. You immediately understand that you have discovered something novel and you keep on discovering new information. It is an exciting experience.

“The performing arts in general really bring out the inner soul of the child. It is important they study in a class room and that they have career goals and their mindset in being whatever they have selected. But I am a firm believer that it is so important that a child gets involved in whatever form of performing art because it is an opportunity for them to relax and a time for them to cultivate their artistic capabilities. It is a time for children to use their talents because I believe there is something in every child that needs to be used.

It is sad that certain educationists do not see the value of performing arts. It is sad that they feel you should only study. A child cannot have a rounded life if they don’t get involved in everything. Theatre is one of those avenues where children show a lot of confidence. It takes a lot of guts to come on stage and perform and students who engage in the performing arts, really shine out and come out of their shell,” explained Senadeera.

By guiding these students Senadeera has learnt to appreciate various types of students. When you are directing a play you have different types of kids from different classes, different backgrounds, every child is different. You learn from the child, you learn to deal with different personalities.

“As a director I have learnt to be very patient with children. Gone are the days when you can be strict, scream and shout and get things done. Today education has changed completely. We have to put ourselves in their situation and understand them. There are limitations you have to work with. You have to give the kids an opportunity to be their own creative artistic self. I cannot force them. I have met some amazing students here. They are very dedicated and very good in their studies and their extra-curricular work as well,” pointed out Senadeera.

A different ‘feel’

Secretary Mahima Passella agreed wholeheartedly that drama has made her realize how much she loves the arts. A much focused young woman, drama has been a remarkable journey for her as she has grown in maturity. She is poised, and has developed a wining personality that anyone will sense the moment they speak to her.

“It has made me realize how much I love performing. Being on stage is something that is really enthralling to me. I have enjoyed it since I was a child. I have taken part in the performing arts and drama has helped me discover my self- confidence and being on stage is something that I really enjoy. Each character that I enact has something so unique about them and when you act each character, you are completely in that character. Because each character is completely different and acting them out has a completely different ‘feel’ to it. You feel the people and completely understand how they are,” said Passella.

Learning history

President Eshana Amarasinghe brimming in confidence feels that doing drama has really opened up her life, empowering and gifting her with knowledge. The diverse range of experiences she has acquired has opened her eyes to a world that is invisible to those who may not have had the opportunity to take up drama.

“Let us take one aspect of drama which is the plays that we do. What Sir does is he takes such a diverse variety of plays. He teaches us not only the play itself but the whole context around it, the entire background. So not only do we know and learn what is happening in the present and what people feel, but we also learn about the history. Some of these plays were set in history. We learn about various different cultures. The amount we have learnt and what we are exposed to has really impacted us, so it is interesting and such a great experience,” said Amarasinghe.

‘Goody two shoes’

Dehan Kamalgoda and Shelantha Fernando play the same twin ‘Edward’ both agreed the plot on the whole tests their abilities. They admit that the plot is fascinating.

“It is a different kind of play and I have never done a play like this. The character I and Dehan play is a very ‘goody two shoes’ and my other twin brother is the exact opposite. I mean you start to reflect how contrasting their lives are and the end is a real shocker. The difficulty is we have to go out of our comfort zone,” said Fernando.

“Both also live in contrasting neighbourhoods. Our character is from a very affluent neighbourhood, while his brother is from an under developed low class neighbourhood. The brothers were separated at birth. So it is a very interesting play because it is so emotionally charged. You need to be very adaptable, definitely doing ‘Blood Brothers’ has made me more open to the different challenges such a role entails, a role as complex as it is. I understand the details that factor in,” said Kamalgoda.

Stature and ability

Kenula De Alwis who plays the part of ‘Mickey,’ Edward’s twin brother, felt that it is a challenge portraying the role of the brother who has not been as privileged as his twin brother, someone who is not as wealthy as his brother.

“Getting into the shoes of such a character was a challenge because I have to think about the thought patterns of such a character who is from a less privileged background. So I have really learnt a lot through this experience. Drama is a representation of what happens in the real world. You talk about issues people face on a daily basis. Acting it out you make a light of these issues like bullying, friendships and relationships. Throughout my years in drama I have grown in stature and ability mainly because of the experiences. I have improved as a character having a more holistic experience,” said Alwis.

The psychological element

Rishane Dassanayaka is the narrator of the play. He is the conscience of Mrs. Johnstone, a character who is not really a character.

“Narrating something I personally cannot relate to, that in itself is a challenge for me. But the advantage of that is that it leaves a lot to my imagination and my creativity. It benefits me as an actor because essentially he frames the entire play. The main psychological element comes with the thematic elements of the play. Like socio-economic background and guilt, socio economic divides and story of redemption. Dealing with these psychological elements is important to me. If you take this medium of art, it helps with broadcasting a variety of characteristics that we have in the world,” said Dassanayaka.

Improves acting

Brindini Perera who plays the role of Mrs. Johnstone, the mom who has the two twins but gives one of them away and then realizes the gravity of her mistake.

“My role really challenges me as an actress. There are different classes in society and different things they go through and you start to discover that. My character has so many kids and is always grumbling that they do not have enough to eat, but there is a rich woman who has so much but she cannot have a baby. You realize that something so morally wrong can haunt you for the rest of your life. It is a constant reminder that you should not be bad! Before my character has the twins, she has seven other kids. So doing these characters really improves my acting skills. Mrs. Johnstone is addicted to drugs and is a mess and caught by the police many times. I used to have zero confidence and self- esteem before drama. Now I am comfortable communicating with people since those days I used to be quite shy,” said Perera.

Very challenging

Ashanee Kottage who plays the part of Mrs. Lyons admits she genuinely loves her character.

“She has a lot of mood swings and she is fake! She goes from being extremely nice to extremely rude. It is very challenging. She manipulates Mrs. Johnstone into giving one of her twins. She is very insecure and paranoid at the end of the play. It is a character that does exist in society. CIS gives us a lot of exposure,” said Kottage.

Giving insights

Reshali de Silva who also plays the character of Mrs. Lyons, is acting for the first time, playing a main role and finds it a huge challenge.

“Mrs. Lyons morphs according to different situations. The little details in the character make her all the more challenging. I am not loud and do not get angry very easily, so it is a lot to cope with. I am passionate about acting and want to continue it as a career, the role gives me insight as to how hard I should work. I am really excited about my future and I hope it all works out.

One of the reasons I am pursuing drama is because I want to work in the humanities stream. So I get to learn more about the characters of people and put myself in their shoes and understand their situation, making me more empathetic towards them. One day I am hoping to work for UNICEF. I am very sensitive and can connect with people much easily. As human beings we can make a huge difference in others’ lives. You need someone who will understand and will guide you,” said De Silva.



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