Dr. Mark Amerasinghe

Dr. Mark Amerasinghe

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Orpheus - A monodrama presented by Dr. Mark Amerasinghe

Please click on the web-link below to see the monodrama:-


A review:-
An engaging monodrama

By Seneka Abeyratne
Mark Amerasinghe is widely regarded as one of the Sri Lanka
s finest surgeons (now retired). It is the same Mark Amerasinghe who writes and performs high-quality monodramas in English. I am not aware of any other Sri Lankan who does similar aesthetic works. In fact, I consider him as the unsung hero of the local English drama scene. The eleven monodramas he has written and performed so far are all adapted from well-known French literary works.
The eleventh monodrama, Look Back in Love, was recently staged at the Alliance Francaise de Kandy. This engaging monodrama, performed by the author himself, is based on an adaptation of his translation of Jean Cocteau
s original script of the black and white French Film, Orphe (1960). The movie, set in the 1950s, was inspired by the celebrated Greek legend, Orpheus, but differed from it in many respects, including the ending. Even though the legend is a tragedy, the modernized version of the movie concludes on a happy note.
In Look Back in Love, the narrator, Jean Cocteau, is played by the creator of the monodrama himself. What a clever innovation it was! The performance was something to behold. For about 75 minutes, the narrator held the audience consistently spellbound with his fine acting and adroit manipulation of space and time. As soon as the play began, we entered the bewitching world of Greek mythology and remained there till the end. Mind you, the storyteller had no script in his hands but all in his head 
 the plot, the scenes, the prose, the dialogue  how nonchalantly he drifted in and out of the supernatural world!
Superb one man show
The story was captivating and it was with great skill and imagination that the author blended narrative and dialogue to create a cohesive, absorbing piece of monodrama. The attention paid to the contextual elements of Cocteau
s script is a noteworthy aspect of the play, which, like the movie, is a delicious blend of myth and modernism. The creative writing and the acting involve two different sets of artistic skills, and Mark Amerasinghe is blessed with both. I should add that he is the director of the play as well. It was in every respect, a one-man show.
The narrator (who is in his mid-eighties) walked and spoke slowly on the stage, which was divided with tassels into this world and the other world; but his voice was steady and his projection, very good. We heard every word and marveled at how marvelously he enriched his storytelling with his judicious use of intonations, facial expressions, gestures, and body language. Whenever he paused and looked at the audience with that mischievous gleam in his eyes, we knew that something dramatic was about to happen.
Multiple roles
We were never disappointed, for those calculated pauses were invariably followed by an intriguing piece of action or turn of events. We had to imagine everything, of course, for we were not watching the movie; we were watching the narrator; and here he was, stepping into Cocteau
s shoes and unfolding the plot scene by scene while simultaneously playing multiple roles  Orpheus, Eurydice, the Princess, Heurtebise, and Cegeste, to name a few. Amazing!
This is not to say the performance was flawless. There was occasional slip-up which did not pass away unnoticed. Yet, Mark Amerasinghe did his thing with such flair and passion that we hung on his every utterance. There was never a dull moment, for so smooth and eloquent was the script as well as the acting. All in all, it was a magical and unforgettable evening.

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