Feroze Kamardeen’s latest version of ‘Freddy’ will hit the Wendt this September. Introducing the stand-up comedy concept to Sri Lankan theatre fans, ‘Freddy’ is not only about humour but it is also about educating and making the audience aware of what happens in mainly the social and political spheres. As such, it’s a production that makes people laugh and think at the same time.
This time five artistes including Gehan Blok, Ifaaz Bin Jameel, Dominic Kellar, Dino Corera and Daminda Wijayaratne will entertain you.
We sat down to have a chat with them:
“It was a six minute piece and when I said that first joke the audience received it well,”
“That really encouraged me because I was the only person on stage. Sri Lankan audiences would be positive as long as we identify with local problems. This time it’s a bigger stand-up show and we are talking a lot more about socio-political issues and trying to give more substance to our performances as well. I’m touching upon schools mainly. We are still learning about this genre because we are new to it. But whatever said and done, I have been legally advised to not reveal any jokes about Ananda College.”
Ifaaz Bin Jameel
There’s this one secret I would like to reveal about Sri Lankan Muslim men says Ifaaz Bin Jameel with a big grin. Ifaaz has been involved in comedy for quite some time but then moved on to producing plays.
“Then Freddy came about and I had the tough task of addressing the Sri Lankan Muslim community. It’s quite tricky at one point because it is a niche community and the challenge I had was to reflect on this community. Stand-up comedy is an eye-opener in a way because we are trying to expose information in various spheres from politics to social. It is challenging to be the only person on stage and having to make an audience laugh but I have learnt a lot through it.”
“Imagine Sri Lanka having a Burgher President? Who would people be most scared of?”
asks Dominic Kellar of Pusswedilla fame. Testing his skills as a stand-up comedian, Mr. Pusswedilla is on a new mission to put his fans into fits of laughter.
“My piece will be based on the political sphere while touching a little about Trump and US politics and a little about Burghers as well. I’m still getting used to stand-up comedy and the entire concept of moulding in to the audience. Unlike Pusswedilla, here I have to grab the attention of the crowd, make them laugh and also give out a message. In a regular play there’s a supporting cast but in standup comedy you have no one. But I see that the audience is excited about it and the feedback so far has been positive.”
Dino Corera is another talented stage play enthusiast who has been involved in a number of productions. This time he will be touching about the doctors, the government and the relationship between Sri Lanka and China.
“Stand-up comedy was a scary experience at first but now we all are in the process of getting used to it. It is an eye-opener in terms of educating people about what they don’t know while adding humour in to it. The concept is more colloquial and the audience will understand the issues that we raise. Oh! And before concluding, I would like to ask something. Does anybody know that China has more opera singers than we have soldiers?”
Daminda Wijayaratne portrays the character of a village lad who visits Colombo.
“I have a different perspective about the city and I learn about different things that happen in Colombo. The cast has been very supportive of each other and I have known them while working for the Pusswedilla series as well. It was quite scary at first because you need to have all the energy for those few minutes and have the audience with you. I enjoyed the different perspectives and this genre is a good way of addressing social and political issues. I have to tell you this as well. After walking around in Colombo I realized that people in Colombo have no idea about what we could do with 10 million bucks in my village,”
says Daminda with a rather concerned expression.
So if you want to know more secrets and jokes about leading schools in the country, about different communities and about politics, do mark your calendars.
Freddy will return to the Wendt once again from September 14-17. The box plan for the event will be out from September 4 onwards.
Pic courtesy Anush De Costa