An experimental play by Dennis Perera
The story line of GotaimbaraKolama which takes the influence of ‘Kolam’ and ‘Shanthi Karma’ (ritualistic dance for curing illnesses and offers blessings) is acted out by the nayakathuma (leader) similar to consistent character appearing in old ‘kolam’ drama and the team as a traditional ritual for the advancement and well being of the country. In the Gotaimbara nation of this story the women are infested by a mysterious disease which gives them the power to rise above men. As this disease gradually invades the country the king finds out that it’s a deed of ‘Mahasona’ (a feared local daemon in disguise of a man) who lives in the mythical island of ‘Giri’. The king in order to save the country goes into war with Mahasona but is unable to identify who it is until the country is at the verge of absolute disruption and chaos.
It’s a popularly known bold truth that the over dramatized and ultra-complex life of an average Sri Lankan whose mental universe consists of devils, goblins and daemons and whose political fate is governed by planetary movements cannot be interpreted by a form of art like the current theatreplays which is deprived in contrast to the richness of his life and lacks in dramatic values. Therefore in order to address the needs of the extensive mindset and theatrical needs of a Sri Lankan, a performance which contains a form of communication that goes beyond verbal intelligence, understanding the positioning of art in the Sri Lankan consciousnessas an activity which is not purely a mundane and an act which can be naturally appreciated and savored by Sri Lankans is greatly desired. GotaimbaraKolama can be introduced as a result of an attempt to develop a new dramatic form and a language which caters to such identified and ignored needs.
Dennis Perera who has studied the arts of theater, film direction, television programming and acting both formally and informally in and out of institutions, is the director of ‘Thathagatha’ play staged in 2007 among a few other short dramas. He is the writer and director of ‘Three wheel diaries’ a film which is to be screened in the future among other short films directed by him. GotaimbaraKolama is the second long drama written and directed by him.