“Swings of love”: An international theatre production by M. Safeer


The accomplished theatre artist M. Safeer has begun his brand new international theatre experience called “Swings of love” – “ආදරයේ ඔංචිල්ලා”. The sole female character of this production is performed by Julia Filippo, an Italian artist equipped with international stage experiences. Julia Filippo has already arrived in Sri Lanka and will continue to train full time on the production until the initial performance is staged for an limited crowd.


The premiere show of the “Swings of love” is planned to be held at the Pune IAPR international theatre festival in November. It will also be staged for three special public weavings at the Korean International Dio​ performing arts festival in Seoul, followed by some invitation shows around the world.
The script of this poetic play is written by the proficient writer Manjula Wediwardena. His original script is translated into English by Dilini Eriyawala.
The production management and lighting designing are by Sujeewa Pathinisekera and Music is directed by Vindaka Weerasinghe. Stage management is by Jeewanthi Perera and the stage supervision is carried by Tharushi Kavindi. Weerasingha Jayasundara takes part in the production with audio-visuals. The national and international logistics and propagation will be done by Nirasha Priyawadani while the international coordination is done by Jayalath S. Gomes.

Introduction:
Inter Act Art has produced numerous creations during the last twenty years, appreciated by local and international audiences. In 2013 and 2015, the artistic director M. Safeer, has been invited to the FLAME University of Pune in India and the Directorate of Culture and Arts of Goa in order to realize workshops with students and artists and create two theater productions. These shows participated in numerous international theater festivals and they received a warm welcome and success.
The shows produced by Inter Act Art are created following the modern and contemporary theater techniques. In 2016 during an international festival organized by the IAA, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, M. Safeer got to know Julia Filippo and her work. Following this meeting, Inter Act Art has decided to co-produce an international theater production combining the abilities of the actress Julia Filippo and the directing style of M. Safeer.
Concept:
The theme of this play is suggested to be on femininity and love. the story recreates the sensations born in a woman on natural wonders of love, coition and violence. apart from the explisit beginig and ending, the production is four act.


The production has a single female performer to reinvent femininity and love using her gestures, rhythm and voice as the medium of communication. Five swings of different colours are used according to the theme and some pre-prepared videos and coloured backgrounds appear concurrently with the acts. From the beginning to the end, the performer plays her role only on the swings.

Contents:
The renowned phylosopher Osho, also known as Sri Rajneesh’s poetic teachings about femininity and love have been taken as the philosophical basis for this production including all the acts.The swings are used as symbols of life, love and feminity, and the colours of the swings, white, black, red and blue are also symbolic.
Performance vary from one act to another according to the symbolic colours and the background pictures and videos apearing time to time to intensify the whole meaning. The narration of the production is minimised, taking the performer’s physical expressionsas the main medium of communication to glorify the theme as a whole.


The director - M. Safeer
An award winning Theater Director, plays Wright, Publisher, author and Pioneer in introducing black box Theater concept to Sri Lanka (Founder and Chief Consultant of Inter Act Art - IAA) He has been involved in Theater and performing art for the last two decades at national and international level. His name is prominently said where a non Sinhalese has been nominated or awarded in the main stream Sinhala theatre.

 

His profession is publishing and he is an Author too. He is the author of the first book on Stage Management, the first to write on the Page Maker software in Sinhala and to write on the Black Box Theater (BBT) in Sinhala. He has been involved in developing Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim Youth Island wide through theater workshops and training sessions and also, skills development, attitude changing, co-existence and transformation for the last 25 years.

 

He has directed over 30 drama including short plays, long plays, Ballets ect. They are originals, translations as well as bi-lingual. The specialty is that being a Muslim he has contributed a lot for enhancement of Sinhala Theatre. He is also a resource person who contributes to Human resource development in main educational institutes and work places. He acts as a judge at National Theatre festival; theatre festivals organized by the ministry of education and also act as an instructor in training performing art teachers of the ministry.

 

He has been trained in human resource development and performing art. He is the pioneer in introducing Black Box Theatre and Forum Theater to Sri Lanka and is the only person to run a Black Box theatre house in Sri Lanka.

He too was the pioneer in organizing an international theatre festival (Colombo International Theater Festival) in Sri Lanka which was a need unfulfilled in the History.

Has worked as a chief consultant and programme director funded by International Organizations. (FLICT-GIZ, CENTRE FOR POVERTY ANALYSIS–CEPA, Neelan Thiruchelvam Trust - NTT, German Cultural Centre- GI, Sri Lanka Red Cross Society- SLRC, US AID.

 

He has directed a drama at the FLAME (Foundation for Liberal Arts and Management Education) university, Pune – India on the invitation of the dean Prof. Vidyanidee Vanarase using the students of the university after conducting a workshop on ‘movement theatre’ in 2013.

 

He also has produced 3 non- verbal solos with the artists of the State of Goa – India on the invitation by the Director of the directorate of Culture and Arts of the government of Goa in 2015.

He is a member of the committee appointed by the Hon. Prime Minister to monitor the construction at John De Silva theatre and other theatres in Sri Lanka.

He is a member of the committee for formulating a new policy on culture and arts in Sri Lanka.

He is also an executive committee member of the National Federation of Theatre Artists in Sri Lanka. (NFTAS)

Festival Director of the following Festivals:
- Sri Lankan Theatre Festival 2010

- Black Box Short Play Festival 2010

- Sri Lankan Theatre Festival 2011/2013/2014

- Colombo International Theater Festival 2012/2013/2014/2015


The Actress - Julia Filippo
Born in Rimini, Italy in 1984, she studied physical theater in France and she graduated from the school “Arsenale” of Milan - Lecoq method (2005). She is an actress in many projects such as: “Un bar sotto il mare” Novelli Theater (2003), “La Cantatrice Calva” Arsenale Theater (2005), “Sabbia – Nessuno ci guarda” Franco Parenti Theater (2008), “Dio Mercato Chorus” Ringhiera Theater (2008), “Imraa, Jin, Xaniman, Women” Hidden Theater (2009) with the direction of Annet Henneman. In 2008 she directed the opera “La Bohème” in Teatro dei Vigilanti. She joined the company Living Theater of New York in 2009 in the tour of Israel and Palestine and in 2010 in the tour in Belgium with many performances. From 2010 she collaborated with Teatro Era of Pontedera with the performances “Abito” “Iter” and “Lisboa” that toured Japan, Brazil, Italy, Portugal and Denmark. In 2013 she took part in the show “The Clinic of Blinded” of the director Pierangelo Pompa with the company Laboratorio di Altamira. She paricipated in the festival Transit 6 organized by Odin Teatret and starts a collaboration with Else Marie Laukvik and Manuel Ramos, Colombian actor and pedagogue with whom she created the company Itinera. She developped her pedagogical work with many associations and institutions such as “La Bottega del Teatro” (Italy), teaching different South American communities and the native community of lomas (Perù), the youth detention center of Bogotá and the ballet team of Teatro Municipal de Assunción (Paraguay). In 2014 she worked for Camp Magic (Singapore), the Parkinson Center of Kuala Lumpur MPDA (Malesia) and the Ikuk Center (Malaysia), working with people with disabilities.
The Writer - Manjula Wediwardena
Manjula Wediwardena is a Sri Lankan creative writer, poet and a journalist who works actively against war. Although he was born to a Sinhala family he wrote against the inhuman suppression and violation of human rights of the Tamils and Tamil journalists during the ethnic war in Sri Lanka. As a result he was forced to flee from Sri Lanka to escape from life threats and now lives as a political refugee in France since 2009.

In early 1990s Manjula started his career as a journalist in a popular newspaper in Sri Lanka and lost his job in 1995 after fighting against the unjust management actions on the employees. Then he started working for two main tabloid political newspapers and a television channel, script writing and presenting a controversial program called “The warrant” from 2003-2007. Manjula became the first editor in chief of one of the first newspapers started according to media ethics in Sri Lanka and left the job opposing the unfair management interventions into editorial work. Not giving up on journalism even while living as an exile, Manjula became one of the pioneers of the organisation called “Journalists for a Democratic Sri Lanka” in 2009. He is actively involved in the organisation and works as an editor of their website.

In 1997 Manjula published his first poetry book, “Clueless heart” with Shane Mackelvie and started his journey as a creative writer. His second book was called “Maria named Mary” a collection of short stories that had been banned by the government responding to a request of the Catholic Church.

Thereafter Manjula has published six more poetry books attracting four main awards and becoming short listed for many other awards and prizes. “Landless motherland”, published in 2010, the poetry collection was the first Sinhala poetry collection written by Manjula about Tamil ethnic life within Sri Lankan society. The book has been translated into Tamil in 2012 and it was the only Sinhala poetry book translated into Tamil in Sri Lanka. Manjula’s poetry has further been translated into English, French and Rumanian.

After his short stories collection being censored, Manjula has published another two books called “Saint Judas” in 2010 and “Beauty of viciousness and other stories from Rathmalana” in 2016.

The two novels he wrote, “Baththalangunduawa” and “My beloved demoness” became very popular in Sri Lanka and placed in the top five books for the “Golden Book” award. Although there had been religious and ethnic protests against “My beloved demoness”, the book was accepted and praised as a splendid piece of work.

The Production Manager/Light Designer
Sujeewa Pathinisekara
Sujeewa Pathinisekara, works for the Government of Sri Lanka, studied at Royal College, St. Joseph Vaz College and Aquinas College, graduated from University Sri Jayewardenepura, Master of Arts- Drama & Theatre from University Sri Jayewardenepura in 2008. worked for the drama group “Shakespeare Centre Sri Lanka” and studied acting and theatre from 1994-2011, translated, directed and produced William Shakespeare’s “King Lear” in Sinhala in 2012 and directed and acted the German contemporary play “Violin, Cello, Double Base” in Sinhala “Api Narakai Thamai” in 2016.

The Stage Manger
Jeewanthi Perera
She is an award winning actress at the national level and is involved in supporting back stage activities. Was a member of the first Black Box work shop in the year 2008. Has more than 15 years’ experience in the theatre field.

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