Flight of Fancy by Musaeus College at Colombo International Theatre Festival
The Colombo International Theatre Festival (CITF) organised by InterAct Art (IAA), Sri Lanka commenced yesterday (4) at Elphinstone Theatre, Colombo 10, felicitating Dr. Jayalath Manoratne. Among the best stage plays from countries around the world, there is one play staged at this international festival by a group of students from Musaeus College, Colombo 7. Directed by Nimasha Fernando, the drama named “Flight of Fancy” will be staged at the CITF on 8 August at 6.30 p.m. Drama Director Nimasha Fernando and her students who act in the drama joined The Sunday Morning Little Stars to share their experience in getting ready for their performance.
What is this story about?
Flight of Fancy follows the story of a little girl named Ellen, whose restrictive life is portrayed to the audience by her seven emotions – anger, fear, sadness, disgust, happiness, surprise, and laziness. Ellen’s attempt at opening the window in her room without her parent’s consent turns out disastrous, as her parents then become convinced that she is a bird and therefore she can fly. Then, they start treating her like a bird – feeding her bird food, giving her books on birds to read, applying oil on her arms to make feathers grow, and even teaching her exercises to strengthen her “wings”. Poor Ellen is miserable and her emotions try their best to help her adapt to her new lifestyle. Ultimately, Ellen’s parents accidentally find out that what they saw as Ellen “flying” was just her falling off the ladder in fright, and everyone has a good laugh at the end. Teaching you to think twice before you act, this humorous theatre production is bound to leave you spellbound.
How was your experience in training the students for this drama?
It was a great learning experience for me. Each child was different; having them all together, performing the drama, was a dream come true. It was a long process. There were several ups and downs, long practices, and group training sessions. But at the end of the day, we managed to put up a great performance. The children were dedicated and loved the drama, so it was quite easy to handle them. It was an amazing experience as each child had their own opinion on how different scenes should be acted out and we had great fun doing it.
How did you get the opportunity to perform at the Colombo International Theatre Festival?
Flight of Fancy won second place at the 2018 State Children’s Drama Festival conducted by the Department of Cultural Affairs. As a result, we were invited to stage this drama at the CITF this year.
Tell us more about yourself.
My name is Nimasha Fernando and I am presently an English teacher at Musaeus College. I joined the school in 1999. Some of the dramas I staged from 2012-2018 paved the way for students to win the first and the second places in zonal-level competitions and at the Sate Children’s Drama Festival, bringing honour to their alma mater. I dedicated my entire life to be with children and teach them good attitudes. I’m extremely happy with my profession. It gives me immense pleasure.
What should a child do if he/she is interested in drama?
It is believed that a passion for the dramatic arts will develop one’s personality in all aspects. Students learn to work as a group and work in unison. They gain a wide exposure by meeting various people and communicating with them. By taking part in these competitions, students learn to accept both victory and defeat with the same spirit. But most importantly, they learn that participation is more valuable than winning. They also learn to accept criticism as well as appreciation and face various challenges in life. The theme of every play will help students build up their personalities.
Tell us more about the Musaeus College Drama Club.
We at Musaeus College Drama Club have been functioning for a long time, discovering students’ talents for theatre and providing them with a platform to display those talents. We have participated in several district, zonal, and national-level competitions and emerged victorious in a number of them. We also conduct weekly workshops for students to help them enhance their drama skills.
Comments from the cast
Sadhara Iddamalgoda, grade 11 – mother
Acting as emotions was a new, challenging experience. It was nice to be taught different ways to act and I learned a lot.
Yashodara Koralege, grade 12 – father
We had fun and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We believe our happiness showed onstage. I am proud to be part of such a production.
Akee Priyawiraj, grade 7 – Ellen
Getting to participate in this drama was a great opportunity. I’m so excited.
Shehani Samarakkody, grade 11 – lazy
First and foremost, I would like to thank everyone for giving us this great opportunity to perform at the CITF. Because of the enormous support we received for Flight of Fancy, we were able to pursue our dream through everyone’s hard work. We got to experience teamwork, theatre, and different emotions as we learned through our mistakes. We hope to give our full effort in delivering our story through the play.
Hansathi Pallewatte, grade 12 – disgust
This is a memorable experience. Performing at international level at such a young age is an amazing feeling, and I am proud of my team for their dedication towards this drama.
Dasuni Perera, grade 12 – anger
I made a lot of new friends and had fun preparing for this drama.
Sineli Wijetunga, grade 11 – sadness
I never thought I’d get the chance to participate in this play. This experience was amazing. I got to make a lot of friends and became part of a huge family. The CITF is giving us a huge opportunity and I’m so happy about all the sacrifices we made to achieve this goal.
Vayuni Amarasinghe, grade 7 – happiness
This is a great opportunity for us and we had a lot of fun. Yesha Hannadige, grade 10 – surprise I am so excited to perform at the CITF. I got to enjoy my time with a lot of new friends and had a lot of fun.
Senari De Silva, grade 7 –fear
We had a lot of fun practising this drama. It was an amazing experience.