Pyramus & Thisby is a magical experience constructed from the two sub-plots of the ‘mechanicals’ (or artisans) and the fairies in Shakespeare’s supernatural masque A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This exciting adaptation is set in low-country Sri Lanka, and features traditional narrative techniques such as fusion-dance, music, mask rituals, acrobatics and physical comedy, coupled with Shakespeare’s most lyrical verse. The setting of the play is a forest clearing with a large mystical tree in the centre.
Pyramus & Thisby is one of my most performed adaptations of Shakespeare. The production is indeed a celebration of Sri Lankan theatre traditions and forms. I set this adaptation in low-country Sri Lanka, in a bygone era when traditional crafts, folk theatre and ritual mask theatre were popular. The show features my drama troupe’s trademark narrative techniques. Needless to say, the show may shock the Shakespearian theatre purists. We believe Pyramus & Thisby is composed of 50% Shakespeare and 50% of devised theatre, physical comedy and dance. This unique, interactive form of theatre, which we term as ‘experiential theatre’, was continued in the 2nd of our ‘Bard-Bending’ trilogy, Caliban’s Rebellion, our post-colonial adaptation of The Tempest (2008 & 2013).
The organic nature of this show has resulted in an ever-evolving production, which also involves a unique element of audience participation. The final performance owes its success to the strength of the hard working cast!
The Adapter & Director
Jehan Aloysius is a full-time theatre practitioner as well as a visiting lecturer at the University of Visual and Performing Arts. Over the last two decades, he has been associated with The Royal Court Theatre of London, ART of Bangalore, Theatrum Botanicum of Edinburgh, Brave Theatre Festival of Poland, Rikskonsertene of Norway, The British Council, as well as the National School of Drama (by participating in the Bharat Rang Mahotsav Drama Festivals of 2011, 2013, 2014 & 2015). Jehan played lead roles at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the multi-award winning productions of Children of the Sea and Finding Marina. He has produced theatre and workshops in Norway, Poland, Scotland, Qatar and India. Jehan’s humanitarian efforts, through his Stage Hands Project, include work with children affected by poverty, natural disaster and the war, as well as physical theatre productions with those living with mental and physical challenges.
CentreStage Productions is an amateur theatre troupe founded in 2001 by Jehan Aloysius, in order to produce and promote original theatre in Sri Lanka. Their focus has always been on fostering theatre skills in young people - from scriptwriting to performing, direction and production. The troupe is known for their signature physical theatre, acrobatics and spectacular staging, which is often coupled with original music and a fusion of Eastern and Western dance forms. Their productions are regularly studied in local universities, and several scripts have been nominated for Sri Lanka’s highest literary award, The Gratiaen Prize. They operate in English and Sinhala languages, and also produce bilingual productions and workshops. Their humanitarian ‘Stage Hands Project’, uses theatre for initiating social change that can develop, empower and mobilise communities to grapple with social and personal issues.
Cast & Credits
Quince Anuk De Silva
Bottom Jehan Aloysius
Flute Heshan Perera
Snout Dino Corera
Snug/Naaga Rakshaya Michael Jayawardana
Starveling Dion Nanayakkara
Oberon Dushyantha Hettiarachchi
Titania Evangeline De Silva
Puck Julian Anderson
Pease Blossom Upekha Daniel
Cobweb Sachini Gnanapragasam
Moth Roshni Gunaratne
Mustard Seed Nimaya Harris
Indian Boy Dilanjan Seneviratne
Drummer Keminda Heethawaka Arachchi
Lights Operated by Thushan Dias
Sound Operated by Revon Fernandopulle
Music Composition &
Choreography by Jehan Aloysius
Music Performed by Avanti Perera & Jehan Aloysius
Costumes, Set & Lighting Jehan Aloysius
Adaptation & Direction Jehan Aloysius