Sinhabahu with a flavour of newness | Sunday Observer

Sinhabahu with a flavour of newness

13 August, 2023

Reviewed by Dr. Namel Weeramuni

The present production of Sinhabahu comes out with a flavour of newness. It touches upon the present-day political nuance and attacks how it functions. This no doubt is very indirect, yet is very subtle. It comes out by playing. Lalitha Sarachchandra allows it to take place.

This quota prevailed in Prof. Sarachchandra production too. Yet in one act only, to bring out a break and a comedic gesture. Lalitha Sarachchandra goes beyond from the entry of Sinhaya and the absence of Sinhabahu’s presence on return of Sinhaya from the wilds. Lalitha executes it meaningfully. It is diligent. The cast is effective and awe-inspiring. Sinhaya is absolutely brilliant. Of all the Sinhaya actors I have watched the present actor makes me the best. He is very expressive and domineering in character. Actor is Jagath Kumara.

Make up on him is characteristically discerning. Cauterisation depends on the degree of makeup. “No actor can play a character if there is no sympathy.” To have sympathy, the actor must be in possession of a seed of experience. If one has such seed of experience, it can grow. If an actor does not have such, it cannot grow. Sinhaya in the present production grows with sympathy.

Throughout his playing, he not only pours out, but also diametrically draws the element of sympathy from the audience. This is a clear feature in his playing unlike the other actors who played Sinhaya in previous productions.

Lalitha had changed the costumes too, to fit the character personalities succinctly drowning them to the historical chorographical designs.

If I count the number of times, I have viewed it since its production in August 1961, I believe the number I have watched is over 300 times with no exaggeration. Yet I do so. It’s a great drama. I consider it over Oedipus and Hamlet.

The latter two are superior because of the craft they possess. Sinhabahu is more humane in its presentation,content and theme. That is why I consider it a modern classic and a great play. It is a play that should have gone into the hands of Peter Brook for a revolutionary production.