A showcase of talent | Sunday Observer

A showcase of talent

A scene from Measure for Measure, Museaus College.
It is definitely one of the most popular events for school  children, especially for those in and around Colombo. It may probably be  the longest standing Shakespeare drama competition in the world.   
 The final leg of Sri Lanka’s ‘All Island Inter School Shakespeare Drama Competition’ was held recently for the 45th year.   
Playwright and actor William Shakespeare, known as the  ‘Bard’ or the ‘Bard of Avon’ has written about 38 plays - comedies,  tragedies and historical. King Henry VI is known to be the earliest play  directly attributed to this playwright. His first known appearance on  the London stage happened in 1592, with many critics and London  newspaper reviews. Known as the most famous playwright in the world, his  works are translated into more than 50 main languages. The founder of  London’s Globe Theatre, his company of actors was known as the ‘King’s  Men.’ Sri Lanka’s Shakespeare Drama Competition is organized jointly by  the Colombo YMCA and the Rotary Club of Colombo North.   
This year’s Shakespeare plays selected for the competition were All’s Well that Ends Well,Comedy of Errors, Henry VI – Part III, King Lear, Macbeth, Measure for Measure, Taming of the Shrew and Timon of Athens.  Out of 40 competitors, 23 in the boys’ category and 17 in girls’; four  from each had been selected for the finals held at the Bishop’s College  Auditorium on September 28 and 29.   
Comedy of Errors seemed to be a favourite among the finalists presented by three out of eight schools while Taming of the Shrew was staged by two.

The country’s talent was showcased in this well attended event. It was fair competition. While the girls’ schools competed in a subdued atmosphere, with their choice of slow paced and serious drama, the boys’ schools were lively.

The girls’ schools finals flowed at a snail’s pace until the presentation of the ‘Taming of the Shrew’. ‘Measure for Measure’, which tried to cut down on time through quick background changes, it was more of a distraction. Though attempted well, stronger performance could have been brought out from the characters of Isabella and Claudio. ‘King Lear’ quickly gained pace, however the only other characters which matched the strength of the character of King Lear was that of the Fool. It was only the presentation of ‘Taming of the Shrew’, which managed to sufficiently engage and entertain the audience.

The boys’ schools finals started on a more entertaining note. ‘Comedy of Errors’ and ‘Taming of the Shrew’ engaged the audience before the more serious ‘Henry the VI’ was brought in. All managed to keep pace with varied styles, helping in the liveliness of presentation. Worthy of mention is the inclusion of mime into the presentation of the ‘Comedy of Errors’. The mime not only brought novelty to the presentation but pointed towards the emotions evoked by varied acts, and was well synchronized.

Results of Boys’ Schools

School Champion -

D.S. Senanayake College, Colombo 07

1st Runner-Up -

St. Benedict’s College, Colombo 13

2nd Runner-Up -

St. Peter’s College, Colombo 04

3rd Runner-Up -

Ananda College, Colombo 10

Best Actor -

Dimmithry Jayawardene, St. Benedict’s College

Best Supporting Actor -

Rithmaka Karunadhara, Ananda College

Results of Girls’ Schools

School Champion -

Bishop’s College, Colombo 03

1st Runner-Up -

Museaus College, Colombo 07

2nd Runner-Up -

St. Bridget’s Convent, Colombo 07

3rd Runner-Up -

Gateway College, Dehiwela

Best Actress -

Raaedha Faize, Bishop’s College

Best Supporting Actress - (Joint Winners)

Celina Randaniya, Vishaka Vidyalaya

Luxmi Wijeyenathan, Bishop’s College

(Pix by Sudam gunasinghe)