Short-listed for the “World Student Drama Trust Award” for the 22nd International Student Playscript Competition, London, 1998, Two Times Two is Two is an ‘absurd’ play which examines the workings of the subconscious.
From its humble beginnings – an unknown cast and an untested director – Two Times Two is Two rose almost instantaneously to be one of the most enjoyed performance pieces in English theatre in Sri Lanka.
Inspired by an experimental artistic concept, this funny and touching drama on the theme of missed opportunities and the difficulty to communicate, brilliantly brings on to stage, the dramatic world in which the boundaries between mind and body no longer exist.
Two Times Two is Two is a play of two acts. Two mirror acts. It is a play about two characters, but four actors.
In Act One, an old grumpy man, makes his way to a particular bench where he waits for someone who never turns up. He is annoyed and irritated by the presence of a confused, blabbering young man, who bores him with his ramblings about himself and his mother.
The two finally part, after nothing substantial takes place.
Act Two is a mirror of Act One. Same lines, same movements, same situation played out again – that of an old man waiting on a bench, being disturbed by a young man musing on about his life. Except there are now two more actors on stage, playing the mind of the old man and the mind of the young man.
In this act, nothing happens again, and, because the audience is exposed to the unspoken thoughts of these characters – this is just shattering.
Two Times Two is Two – an instant success, ran to packed houses at the British Council hall when it opened in July 2000. It soon rose to be a favourite amongst English theatre-goers, drawing many of the same audience members back for its repeat shows.
Due to popular demand the show was re-run in August 2000, and staged again, in 2002 at the British Council hall. Then, with a new cast it was performed once again at the Lionel Wendt in 2003. Every run was a sellout success.
Two Times Two is Two’s final performance was in India when it was invited for performance to Delhi for the 2003 Bharatrang Festival of the National School of Drama. Here, it ran the dubious distinction of drawing crowds in spite of clashing directly with the live telecasting of an India/Sri Lanka cricket match…
“The author/director and her cast achieved an astoundingly high level of success” – Sunday Observer
“Speaks tellingly of the pain and consolation of loneliness and of the strange countries inhabited between the old and the young, and of the awkward gaps between what we want and what we get” – Sunday Observer
“Drama at the highest level” – Sunday Observer
“Easily the most dynamic and superbly written, directed and acted drama to come into the Sri Lankan English language theatre scene of late” – The Island
“An intelligent and engaging theatrical treat for the audience” – The Island
“The story is simple one. Which is an aspect of the brilliance of the play. In the telling of this story – and in the way that it is told – we are offered a critique on life and loneliness. We are offered insight into the things that people don’t say, even when they seemingly say so much. The missed opportunities. The unexplored options. The difference between what we long to say and what we allow ourselves to say”- The Island
“In this play, nothing happens. And then again everything happens”- Sunday Times
“de Chickera creates an authenticity of the mind, peopled with thoughts, regrets, yearnings and most of all wasted potential half chances to touch others’ lives. Her seamless interface between the ceaseless mind and the hobbled tongue was almost effortless” – Sunday Leader
“Her direction is laudably sparse and sure-footed and her economy of words suggests a genuine respect for language” – Sunday Leader
“The director must be congratulated for her casting. The performance of Prasad Pereira as Derrick was compelling. He gripped the audiences’ imagination with a controlled and convincing portrayal. Gihan de Chickera captured poignantly the plethora of moods and textures of the young boy’s mind, from the yearning for a father, to the point at which he grapples with acknowledging his father” – Options