GCE A/L English Literature - Made Easy - Drama -
An asian comedy
by Ernest MacIntyre
Ernest MacIntyre, was a member of the "Dramsoc" when he was a student
at Peradeniya University. When Ludowyke left Sri Lanka after directing "Androcles
and the Lion" MacIntyre and others who were interested in drama formed
'a new Theatre Group" with "Acquinas College Dramatic Society", when the
Dramsoc was enthusiastically looking out for "performers competent in
English" in Peradeniya due to the effects created by the "Swabhasha
MacIntyre was the resident director, though another director worked
with them occasionally. With much experience with the style of Drama and
demands of the Sri Lankan audiences MacIntyre succeeded in shining
as a potential playwright. When Henry Jayasena's Sinhala version of the
'Caucasian Chalk Circle'("Hunu Wataye Kathawa") won admiration from the
Sri Lankan audiences.
MacIntyre won fame and success by presenting his English version of
popular drama quite sensitive to the social changes that prevailed.
"MacIntyre's awareness of the insularity of the Sri Lankan English
Theatre is important" (Dr. de Mel's comments) he tried to present plays
that could be appreciated and enjoyed by the local audiences paying more
attention to the demands of the middle class English speaking audiences.
In "The Education of Miss Asia" , a new concept is introduced
to the Beauty Contest and the unusual extraordinary behaviour pattern of
Chaudribhoy; exposing the absurdity and foolishness of the prevailing
MacIntyre has used "flexible language" pattern spoken by many English
speaking local people with " a raciness and spiciness the
distinctive rhythms, the sometimes startling mixtures of creativity and
cliche, characteristic of Lankan English" (Ashly Halpe's comments)
MacIntyre's dramatic style is quite appealing inviting the applause
of the audiences. While reading the drama EDUCATION OF MISS ASIA one
should make an effort to visualize the players on stage performing the
drama in the MacIntyre style.
The story in brief:
Marlene Perera having won the "Miss Asia" title is being groomed for
"Miss World" contest to be held in London. Earlier it was physical
beauty that paved way for the title of "Miss World" "form and features,
how they move and hold themselves, on their attractiveness". Ernest
MacIntyre imagined a contest in which "intellectual ability,
sensitivity and values were equally important".
For the final round of the contest "Miss World" is going to be chosen
not only for her physical beauty, grace, charm and vitality but equally
for the intellectual and emotional, response to the continent she
represents" so that the contestants are requested to undergo training
and coaching from an eminent person, who is familiar with the
requirements and of course a person of eminence "The Foreign Expert
Syndrome" was prevailing in the English speaking society in Sri
Lanka at that time.
The typically westernised Pereras invite chaudribhoy, supposed to be
a professor from India to educate Marlene for the contest of "Miss
World" "The focus and Dramatic centre" of the play.
The Education of Miss Asia seems to be chaudribhoy and the attention
of the audience seems to be invited to the education Miss Asia
undergoes, and also to the person who educates her. Thus the character
of Chaudribhoy and the audience would appreciate "the richness of
chaudribhoy as a dramatic creation" .