The Localist

A Night at the Theatre in Colombo

I’m not the most qualified person to comment on Sri Lankan theatre. Probably because for me, partaking in theatre has been limited to a few school productions. Other than going to see plays that everyone’s talking about in Colombo, I haven’t really graced too many theatres.

Recently, however, I was lucky enough to be a part of a very cool production named “V day” at the Barefoot Garden Cafe* that was put together to raise awareness about sexual abuse and violence by some very experienced theatre folks here in Sri Lanka.

The experience reminded me that Sri Lankan theatre really is quite a treat.  If you’re in Colombo, definitely look into the events section of the paper to see what’s happening.

There’s generally a choice of either Sinhalese (native tongue) theatre or English theatre. I saw one Sinhalese play recently named “balloth ekka bah a” (pictured), meaning “not possible with dogs”, or something to that effect – bad translation on my part. Only because my dad saw it and was pushing me to do so. So a couple of friends and I did go see it. For me, it was alright. Typical Sinhalese theatre. Political satire. We Sri Lankans used to be/are oppressed in terms of freedom of speech, so any form of art that mocks politics is gladly welcome. My parents enjoy performances featuring Tenison Cooray, who I suppose you could call a local Jim Carey. Ok, maybe not that big, but in Sri Lankan, he’s huge.

I think English theatre, on the other hand, is quite cool. I’m a fan of productions such as GlenGarry Glen Ross, Pusswedilla (a political satire with 5 installments – refer back to our love of aforementioned political satire), Phantom of the Opera (bloody brilliant), Bengal of Bungalow, Pyramus and Thisby to name of a few.

There’s not a lot of plays happening in Colombo, but when one shows, and depending on the hype created around it, it rarely disappoints. So if you’re in town, do be on the lookout for the events section of our daily newspapers, featured events around Colombo on (this covers local events, restaurants etc in Colombo, in English), pamphlets you can pick up from Café on the 5th, 5th Lane Colombo. Check them all out for some tips on happenings and maybe, just maybe, some fun theatre!

* This is a very cool place to chill and have some lunch. They sometimes have quiz nights and the store has very cool stuff!




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