As a part of the Sri Lanka Beyond Borders Festival for 2006, the Core Group undertook a novel approach to address a few issues that matter to them. They decided to do Forum Theatre!
A novel concept for some of us and Sri Lankans in general, it was stage play with interactions between the actors and the audience. The play would be acted out by the actors once, and then they would invite the audience to come in and change it! We were all eagerly waiting for Festival dates to see how this would be welcomed by the audience.
The formulation involved lots of practicing, a lot of brainstorming and it was exhilarating to finally see each others plays acted out on the last practice session. We saw how each group had come up with a play that highlighted the ‘bad ending’ that is so required of a theatre forum.
One of the plays, which was on conflict resolution, dealt with a situation a young school boy has to face and questioned how he should resolve that issue.
The second play on HIV/AIDS, dealt with a young man who contracted on a night out and questions what could have been done to prevent it and how he can or could have changed his life.
On the day itself, everyone rushed to the workshops to see how the forum fared and to see it acted out. The audience was active and ultimately came up with many interesting and thought provoking alternative situations for the plays. It was a fun filled couple of hours with much laughter albeit with serious thought and discussion. The audience participated enthusiastically and even the visiting Core Group Members got caught up and joined in eagerly in the fun!
The plays successfully harnessed the talents of the Core Group and brought out the creativity in all involved.
Technical issues were handled by Ms. Nimmi Harasgama, Mrs. Angela Carr (conflict resolution) and Ms. Visaka Jayaweera (HIV/AIDS). Their contribution was much valued and appreciated.
Special thanks go to the international participants who too contributed to the plays by taking part in them. They were truly wonderful.
And finally, to all the SL Core Group Members who took part in the plays, well done guys!
— Raashid Riza