Revive ‘Ravana’


A few months ago, in Melbourne, I had the privilege to join the 85th birthday party of our much loved teacher at Ananda College, Nimal Abhayawardane. It was organized by his daughters living there.

One of the highlights of the event was singing songs from the stage drama Ravana (staged in 1957) by a highly gifted group of young teachers and senior students at the time. There had been much interest of Nadagma styled stage plays at the time, with the advent of Dr. Sarathchandra’s famous 'Maname'. Although now not in the best of health, Abhayawardana was able to sing the beautiful songs, along with Dr. Ranjith Hettiarachchi, whom, I believe, was in the lead chorus of the play.

It brought me back to the year 1957 when I was a 7th grade hosteller at the time, when we saw the highly talented senior boys and teachers, work day and night to stage this beautiful drama 'Ravana'. The main roles in the drama, Ravana, was played by Abhayawardana (as Prince Rama) and the evergreen personality KLF Wijedasa as King Ravana

At the gathering, I came to know that the man behind the script for the beautiful songs, was the ‘Yawwana’ Mahacharya JB Dissanayake. Among the main actors mentioned was Lakshman Dissanayake.

I believe that it will be great if this stage drama 'Ravana' is revived and restaged at the time when those great men could still contribute well in such an endeavour. If there is a drama circle at Ananda College that will be a good challenge for them.

Gamini Ranasinghe



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