12 Angry WoMen: Two sides of a coin | Sunday Observer

12 Angry WoMen: Two sides of a coin

The line up has quite a few new faces in the CT7 company, but they are no strangers in theatre circles in Colombo. It has been an interesting and thought provoking experience for the CT7 debutantes.

The CT7 newbies speak:

Lawyer by profession, Mahesh Senaratne takes a whack at playing a Juror in his first production with CT7, “Kevin has been great to work with because he gives you the freedom to interpret your character, it’s definitely been a challenge to sustain the intensity especially, because you are on stage for the entire show”.

Anoj, who is no stranger to musicals takes a shot at straight plays for the first time, “It has been an amazing experience to act alongside two of my former directors, it’s even more amazing because I actually get to yell at them” Nadishka, a drama teacher, claims she has learned quite a few tips from the production; “I feel that Kevin as a director really delves deep into character and he even gives us work to do. As a teacher I really appreciate the depth of detail and it’s been an absolute privilege to act alongside this cast.

Biman comes off the successes of Divorce Me Darling, Taming of the Shrew and Return of the Ralahami; “Kevin has been a very interesting director to work with, he’s a young director and I feel that enables him to take different types of risks and explore the process differently. His exercises really help to understand the characters and make rehearsals more fluid. I also think its cool and challenging for the girls because they have to explore different ways of bringing in the intensity”

Rukshan, who has been involved with behind the scenes aspect of theatre, finally takes to stage this time around. “It’s so different being part of the cast, at first it was difficult to keep up with everyone but it feels like its an open space and all contributions matter, so, that has helped me come a long way”

Challenges

Anuk: “Given the fact that this is a well known play, and it is studied not only in the dramatic aspect but also analyzed in professional programs and as such, it’s been a challenge to rise to the expectations. Sharing the stage with the likes of Jerome L. De Silva and Adam, has been a welcoming sort of stress”

Mokshini: “This play does not have any gimmicks, it is purely the acting that pulls the play through and maintaining that intensity has definitely been a challenge. I’m a bit rusty with my acting skills but I have learnt so much from my fellow cast members. I think Kevin is being really bold for taking a play written for men and adapting it to not only modern times but to a cast of women. The interpretations are very different and people would not expect what will be on stage.”

Shania: “The fact that it was written for men makes it easier for them to show aggression using their physicality. The women’s cast have to build up a lot more emotionally and layer our emotions to achieve the same level of aggression”

Adapting the Text:

Sashya: “Adapting the text has been a unique experience and we have learnt a lot from each other, especially, when we watch the male cast. The fact that we’re doing a play written for men is empowering.”

Piorina: “The period shift has effected the adaptation of the text quite a bit, right down to the terminology and manners of speaking. We have learnt a lot from our counterparts and I’m really excited to share the stage with such veterans.”

Celina: “It could be said, the only thing the male and female casts share is the juror number because aside from that, the dynamic between the cast is very different”

Bimsara: “It’s very rare to see a play such as this being done because Colombo sees a fair amount of musicals and comedies. This play is more of an intellectual and emotional journey and sustaining that energy for one and a half hours will be a change for the audience.”

Kavitha: “The fact that there is no ‘lead role’ enables everyone to bring their A game. There are multiple opinions and they all matter. Personally, it has taught me that even if you say a few words, if it’s said convincingly and believably, it can make a difference.”

Directors on being directed

Jerome: “The experience has been very good because Kevin is a very in depth director in terms of characterization. Being a director myself, I find it a learning experience.

The biggest challenge for me has been, given that I am acting after so long, I have forgotten the process of being an actor; especially, learning lines! Overall, it has been a humbling and learning process to be working with all the other directors and actors, this just goes onto show that you never stop learning.

Neidra: “A good play needs a good script, good actors and a good director and I’ve been working with an amazing set of actors in both casts. The playwright, has written the lines in a way that could be interpreted in more than one way. Watching both plays will be a different experience as the story will be interpreted differently. When it comes to working with Kevin he has his own style of approaching the play, and while it’s a different experience for Jehan and I, because usually, we are the ones with a vision and driving a cast to achieve that vision, but here we are helping Kevin bring his vision to life, and that feels weird but definitely enjoyable.”

Working with legends:

Kevin: “Personally, it has been a wonderful experience for me to be able to work with this group. As a young director I learn a lot from all these legends, everyday. It also makes me work extra hard, and put in that additional effort to ensure that I get my direction right. It keeps me on my toes and I continuously make a conscious effort to make sure I don’t drop the ball.”

Reginald Rose’s 12 Angry WoMen presented by Cold Theatre 7, directed by Kevin Cruze will go on the boards from November 16 - 19 at the Lionel Wendt. 

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