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Last Bus Eke Kathawa

Last Bus Eke Kathawa is a one man show originally written in Sinhala by Dhananjaya Karunaratne in 1999.

The play was translated to English by Stages Theatre Group, and performed by Gihan de Chickera in 2001 as a part of the production Checkpoint – Three Strangely Normal Plays.

While Last Bus continued to be an integral part of all Checkpoint productions, its phenomenal success and transportability carved for it an identity of its own, and it has been performed as a stand-alone piece as well, in India, UK and in Japan.

Synopsis

The script is based on a true story and is set during the 1989 JVP insurrection.

The story unfolds the plight of Amarawansa – a labourer – whose 18-year-old son is abducted during the insurrection. In desperation, Amarawansa and his wife seek the help of a Chief Minister to find their son. The Minister, taking a fancy to the wife keeps her in his custody, refusing to set her free. He financially supports Amarawansa who, unable to cope with the situation, is driven to drink.

Amarawansa’s story highlights the tragedy of Sri Lanka’s political culture and the plight of the common man. Playwright Karunaratne uses local humour, satire and strong direct language to unravel the power structures of modern urban life. It is an exciting piece of theatre that challenges the actor and the audience alike.

Performance history

Last Bus Eke Kathawa was first performed in English during Checkpoint Three Strangely Normal Plays which had two sell-out runs at the British Council in July-August 2001.

The play has subsequently been performed in New Delhi, at the South Asians for Human Rights Conference in November 2001; in Manchester as part of the 2002 Commonwealth Games Cultural Festival; in Tokyo in 2004; and in the Indian cities of Lucknow, Varanasi, Bubhaneshwarar and Mysore as part of the Checkpoint tour of India in 2005.

In 2006 it was performed in Colombo again, in the revival of Checkpoint.  In 2007 it was performed in 3 Indian Cities – Delhi and Calcutta as part of the NSD theatre festival, and in Chennai as part of the Metro Fest.

Its final performance was back in Sri Lanka, in Kandy in September 2007.

Reviews

Last Bus Eke Kathawa was … the highlight of the evening”

Checkpoint – Colombo, 2001

The Island

“A thoughtful and brilliantly translated script”

Checkpoint – Colombo, 2001

The Island

“…truly professional and accomplished performance by Gihan de Chickera”

Checkpoint – Colombo, 2001

The Island

“…totally convincing and truly masterful”

Checkpoint – Colombo, 2001

The Island

“The translation itself has been done brilliantly where the blend of Sinhala and English was enormously poignant and captures the bilingual linguistic realities of our communities”

Checkpoint – Colombo, 2001

Sunday Leader

“The poetry, lyricism of Sinhala plays evident in the more prosaic everyday English”

Checkpoint – British School

Daily Mirror, September 21, 2006 – Samantha D. S. Wijeratne

“Even after having seen it several times, I feel… well wrung out at the end of it”

Checkpoint – British School, 2006

Daily Mirror, September 21, 2006 – Samantha D. S. Wijeratne

“The Drunk won hands down, a stereotype pushed to the extreme, but one that touched a deep chord of pathos within the ‘toffee’ of humour”

The Metro Fest

The Hindu – 7th august 2007 – Soudhamini

“…a one man play masterfully performed by Gihan de Chickera, with tremendous flair and perfect timing of comedy”

The Metro Fest

The Hindu –  7th august 2007 – Dr. Madhavan Mukund

“Gihan de Chickera performed this one man play with tremendous zest and perfect sense of comedy.  His narrating style, mutating body with perfect-ease shifts in the tone of his language were all amazing.  The drunken in him won hands down”

Metro Fest – Chennai

The Hindu – Syed Ali Mujtaba

 

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“The Drunk won hands down, a stereotype pushed to the extreme, but one that touched a deep chord of pathos within the ‘toffee’ of humour”

- The Hindu 

Credits

Directed By –       Ruwanthie de Chickera

Written By   –       Dhananjaya Karunaratne

Translated By  –       Gihan de Chickera, Shakthi Ranatunga, Ruwanthie de Chickera

Performed By  –       Gihan de Chickera

Updates and Rehearsal Logs