‘Well, Mudaliyar!’ A hit comedy written by H.C.N De Lanerolle and E.M.W Joseph first performed back in 1933 will be staged at the Wendt this March. Directed by Jaliya Wijewardene, it will come in as a revival play by Amphitheatre Productions. Speaking to the Daily Mirror Life, Jaliya said that this is the first time Amphitheatre Productions is staging this play. “It wasn’t staged in Colombo in a while. Some of its lead roles were played by celebrated actors such as E.C.B Wijesinghe, P.C Thambugala and more recently Arun Dias Bandaranaike and Indu Dharmasena. We have done two plays of H.C.N De Lanerolle’s such as Fifty Fifty and The Senator.”
Speaking about the play, Jaliya said that the play is set in Southern Sri Lanka in 1933 and revolves around Mudaliyar, the village chief and his family. “The play actually takes place at a time when the English are trying to abolish the Headman System. On top of that he’s heavily in debt and he wants to educate his children. So with his job and everything at stake, he’s at a very low point in his life. But the village notary Abraham is his friend and is a wealthy man. So the story revolves around how these two people try to achieve their own goals. This is a 100% original script and there are no additions made.”
Jaliya plays the role of Abraham who has many hats. He’s the notary, marriage broker, the person who lends money and engages in various business activities.
“When you look at these plays it’s quite amusing to see how relevant they are even today,” Jaliya says, speaking about how plays written back in the day are relevant even today. “Even though its 70 years old our society hasn’t changed that much. If you take The Senator, it had a more political aspect which we could relate to even in the modern times. In 'Well Mudaliyar' It’s a social satire and looks at how our community and culture works. But a lot of issues that they face and the attitudes are very much present in today’s society as well. Regardless of age, everybody will be able to relate to it as well.”
This exciting revival of ‘Well, Mudaliyar! features Yasal Ruhunage, Kavinda Gunasekara, Shenilka Perera, Sahan Wijewardene, Anaz Badurdeen, Barana Waidyathilake, Minoli Peiris and Shiwanthi Kahandaliyanage in its main cast. Get ready to witness how love affairs, petitions, proposals, blackmailing and all that happened back in the day!
‘Well,Mudaliyar! Will be staged from March 23-25 at the Lionel Wendt.
Pics by Pradeep Dilrukshana