Treading the path of performance | Sunday Observer

Treading the path of performance

22 July, 2018

The art of acting requires passion and discipline where the artiste must be remoulded to be reborn as a new character and live convincingly for an audience. Dayaratne Suwandahennadige is a man committed to the art of acting and has for the past 35 years been involved in Sinhala medium productions for the stage as well as the screen. He realised his passion for performance at the age of 15, appearing in a Sinhala stage play titled ‘Bindunu Bandun’ by Jayarathna Rupasinghe who is best known for playing Sirisena aka ‘Sira’ on the popular TV drama series ‘Kopi Kade’. “In that play I played the character of an eighty year old man. It was staged at the John de Silva theatre in 1982 for the State Drama Festival,” said Dayaratne who recollected his arrival at the world of performing arts.

“I have now acted in more than 70 stage plays,” said Dayaratne, adding,“Some of the most memorable experiences have been in ‘Thiththa Kiri’ in which I acted as a Muslim MP, which was a play by Jayarathna Rupasinghe, also, there was ‘Soldara Gedara’ by Upali Keerthisena staged in the late ’80s, ‘Sunny Aiya’, ‘Balal Es’ and ‘Gelawum Karayo’ all three were plays by the late Mervin Kaviratne. In ‘Thanayame Geethaya’ staged in the late ’80s, I played dual roles. I also acted in the play titled ‘Sadadara Madonna,’ written and directed by Priyankara Wijesena. ‘Maru Wela’ by Ajith Dharmasiri staged in the 90s was another memorable experience on stage,” said Dayaratne who then recalled his experiences acting for the camera. “I acted in a couple of teledramas over the years.

They were minor appearances, nevertheless I enjoyed the experience. It is after all very different from stage acting,” said Dayaratne. He said he acted in a Sinhala teledrama titled ‘Dhadu Kate’ which is yet to be released, and also a Sinhala teledrama titled ‘Rathriye Pachchamayamaya’ directed by Attorney-at-Law Srilal Ranasinghe.

“Something I’m looking forward to at present is the upcoming film by Sugath Samarakoon ‘Kuveni 2, Yakshadeshaya’ for which I have been selected to appear,” said Dayaratne speaking about the stage drama productions he is involved in at present. “Sugath Samarakoon’s ‘Uthure Rahula Himi’ was a controversial play during the insurgency period of the late ’80s. It is now returning to the stage. Rehearsals are under way, and I have been cast in that production. This play will make a strong impression on the present young generation and the older generation that saw it when it was first staged.” He went on to explain the other production, also set to be staged in the near future. “Leo Tolstoy is one of the greatest Russian writers of all time. His short story ‘The Long Exile’ has been adapted to the Sinhala stage by Sumith Suranga. I play dual roles in that play as a prison inmate and a revolutionary. It was staged sometime back and is now ready to be shown again. It is called ‘Hathe Kamaraya’, and will be received well by theatre lovers.”

The upcoming stage plays ‘Uthure Rahula Himi’ and ‘Hathe Kamaraya’ will resonate significantly in the present political climate said Dayaratne who is resolute to continue his journey of over 35 years in the field of performing arts; exploring opportunities for new experiences that will help his talents and skills unfold further.