I had the pleasant and profitable
opportunity to participate in the workshop seminar on Hendrik
Ibsen’s work organised by the Namel Malini Punchi Theatre
situated at Borella and held on the 13th and 14th of January
To me, as one who had only read
Ibsen’s plays that too more than fifty years ago consequent to
my having read Bernard Shaw’s Quintessence of Ibsenism, the
workshop-seminar gave me a clear insight into the plays and
deeper understanding of them and further impelled me to read the
plays over again.
The participants, numbering over
hundred, had the privilege of seeing, meeting and hearing some
well-known and eminent theatre personages such as Mrs. Iranganie
Serasinghe, Prof. Ashley Halpe, Dr. Jayantha Dhanapala, Prof.
Sunanda Mahendra, Dr. Earnest Macintyre, Dr. G. K. Hathotuwegama
and Mr. Ariyawansa Ranaweera, who were the resource persons.
Dr. Macintyre functioned as the co-ordinator
of the programme on both days in addition to giving a talk like
the other resource personages.
There were also some other prominent
theatre people such as Dr. Henry Jayasena Mr. Haig Karunaratne
who also gave their input and also Prof. Carlo Fonseka, to
mention only a few. The film on Gedda Gabler and the discussion
thereafter had been very useful.
I was really taken up by the
organisers of the workshop-seminar, Mr. Namel Weeramuni and Mrs.
Malini Weeramuni with their organising ability and with their
extreme courtesy in welcoming the participants and attending on
them, especially Mrs. Malini Weeramuni who went about doing all
the things imperceptibly and unobrusively.
Participation in the workshop-seminar
was free and the meals and tea in the mornings and evenings on
both days were also free.
This workshop-seminar had been made
possible by the sponsorship given by the Royal Norwegian Embassy
and the Ambassador, Hon. Hans Brattskar, graced the occasion on
the first day and started the programmes with an illuminating
The participation of the youths,
including a group from the University of Jayawardene Pura, I
believe, was an encouragement for the future of the theatre. Dr.
Hathotuwegama conducted a lively workshop which they enjoyed and
would have profited much, on the practical side.
One of the useful matters that emerged
was the consensus that a theatre school is essential if theatre
is to advance in our country and that there should be
Mr. Namel Weeramuni said that he had
been having this idea for some time but his problem was to find
the money to pay the teachers.
He hoped that some affluent theatre
enthusiasts or some establishment or even the government would
come forward to make this a reality.
Mr. Weeramuni had the place for the
school. He and his wife have the knowledge and the skill and
also attitude — the will and the dedication. It is only the
financial backing that is required to carry out this vital need
for the theatre’s advancement, in our country.