The happening library | Sunday Observer

The happening library

This was no run of the mill re-launch of a library. It was something special, especially since it was the British Council in Sri Lanka, a favourite hive for the arts, that reopened with an intriguing tagline “it all happens here”. And happened it did last Saturday (June 2). The many guests who graced the occasion were treated to an evening of music and drama.

The British Council Director Gil Caldicott very rightly in her speech said: “When we were revamping the library we gave serious consideration to the question what does a library look like in today’s world? It was a popular venue for events; and we realized over time that these events were drawing in a very interesting and diverse group of people who come here to both enjoy a performance and to meet other likeminded people as well. That’s exactly why we’re embracing our tag line “it all happens here!”

Having said that, let me move into the pleasant surprise of the opening skit – a drama on how to behave in a library! The script was laced with humour and was titled “Ronnie at the Library”. The creative backdrop was a closed book with the pages marked and the compere Swasha Fernando fitted into her role with competence and ease. The other young talented participants were Nadun Dissanayake, Celina Cramer, Amaz Irshad, Charlana Wijesuriya and Amaya Fernando. The attempt by the others to quieten the speech volume of a guy who strolled into the library wanting assistance to locate a book, hushed attempt by the librarian to quieten him down and his I am not listening to you attitude, showcased their timing of repartee which proved their capabilities in pulling off a comedy skit.

That’s not all. The poems recited by Sheshadri Kotteaachchi, the modern dance sequence by Ayudhya Gajanayake were a pleasant surprise.

The finale was a solo three songs sung by Hiddath Hazeer who accompanied himself on his guitar. Young and influenced by today’s music he sang Cold Play’s ‘Yellow’, a bluesy ‘Feeling Good’ from the repertoire of Nina Simone and finally ‘Happy’ from Tharrel Williams. The performances came to a close with the compere Swasha Fernando whose job it was to open page after page to introduce the acts and to close the cover page to signify the end.

As a point of interest the British Council libraries in Colombo, Kandy and Jaffna enables a reader easy access to over 500,000 books, magazines and DVDs – any wonder then the new tagline “it all happens here” couldn’t be more true.

Pix : Sulochana Gamage