Shakespeare under Colombo’s night skies


The Workshop Players to stage ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, ‘The Merchant of Venice’ and ‘Othello; the Moor of Venice’ at the Viharamadevi Park for six days in April and May:

by Dilshan Boange

The often quoted “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players” from Shakespeare’s As You Like It never loses its lustre, especially when you think of how vibrant Colombo’s theatre scene has become. And when speaking of theatre, none can forget what a worldwide influence the Bard of Avon has been to the medium of performance arts as stage drama and cinema.

Jerome L. de Silva
Jerome L. de Silva

The Workshop Players led by veteran theatre practitioner Jerome de Silva, as a theatre company, has offered many a praiseworthy theatre experience to theatregoers over the years. And they are ready to bring Shakespeare out in the open and under the night skies to theatre lovers, absolutely free of charge, during a six-day ‘Shakespeare in the Park’ festival at the Viharamahadevi Park.

This praiseworthy project will very likely offer an experience of what is practised in New York City’s Central Park as ‘Shakespeare in the Park’ (or Free Shakespeare in the Park), which was conceptualised and implemented by theatre producer and director Joseph Papp as a theatrical programme open to the public with no admission charges. The festival charts its origins to 1954 and was instrumental in impelling the Central Park authorities to construct the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park, which has now been the venue for over 150 Shakespeare productions performed free of charge.

unknown artist; The Venice Portrait of William Shakespeare (1564-1616); Royal Shakespeare Company Collection;
The Venice Portrait of William Shakespeare (1564-1616) by an unknown artist. Royal Shakespeare Company Collection

‘Shakespeare in the Park’ by The Workshop Players will feature three well known works of the Bard, which, while being a treat to theatre lovers will also surely be of academic interest to teachers and students of English literature at school level. ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, ‘The Merchant of Venice’ and ‘Othello; the Moor of Venice’ are set to come alive in this festival, which will showcase the directorial and thespian talents of The Workshop Players.

The programme is as follows. A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Directed by Amaya Wijesinghe, Lehan Thomas, Leyanvi Mirando, and Tanika Fernando will be performed on April 28 and 29 . The Merchant of Venice: Directed by Javin Thomas will be performed on May on 7 and 8, Othello: Directed by Jerome de Silva and Nadishka Aloysius will unfold on May 14 and 15.All performances will commence at 7.00 p.m.

united-kingdom-london-southwark-globe-theatre-shakespeares-globe-opened-E2H2W9The event is not intended to be only an evening of performance but a scene of festivity that will include food and drink stalls, along with texts, scripts and educational items to offer the public a larger experience of enjoying and learning about theatre. ‘Shakespeare in the Park’ will surely combine the joys of outdoor festiveness and theatre to offer a vibrant cultural experience to young and old alike.