Lifestyle

Bengal madness once more in Colombo

Jehan Aloysius and CentreStage Productions will be staging their hilarious comedy “Bengal Bungalow” on 30 November and 1 December at the Lionel Wendt Theatre at 7.30 p.m. – and the Box Office has just opened at the theatre.

Set in Bengal in the late 1930s, Bengal Bungalow is a fast-paced situation comedy with mistaken identity, sensational characters and situations, as well as cunning twists. The humour is deliciously tongue-in-cheek at times with plenty of slapstick comedy, making this a hilarious bedroom farce with many twists.

Written and directed by Jehan Aloysius, whose directorial credits include Reality Show, Rag – The Musical, The Ritual, Pyramus & Thisby, Caliban’s Rebellion, Prince of Egypt, Stormy Weather, An Inspired Swan Lake, and Nutcracker, Bengal Bungalowis possibly the wildest and wackiest comedy in the repertoire of his theatre troupe – CentreStage Productions.

The comedy will be making its fifth run this year, having been staged for the very first time in 2004. Since then, the play has consistently received resounding praise.

Jehan himself claims that he was pleasantly surprised that a script he had originally written when he was just a schoolboy could become such a box office success.

“It’s been two years since we last staged the show in 2016, and it was such a success, we had a full house,” he said, adding that “the Lankan theatre audiences really enjoy a good comedy or a musical, especially during these turbulent times. I think they deserve something to laugh about.”

Speaking about why it has resonated so well with audiences, he said: “It’s a wild ride; the vintage style and farcical comedy hits a nice balance that is rather enjoyable.”

He also said that over the years, it has become a sort of tradition for many members of the audience to catch the show every year that it stages. “Friends introducing it to new friends and parents wanting to share the experience with their children, becoming a family tradition for some.”

Having staged it so many times over the years, with some recurring cast members, naturally one would wonder how the show remains so current, continuing to be a massive box office draw.

The significance of live theatre, Jehan said, was that it’s never static, it’s always evolving: “It’s always in flux,” and so it will never become boring.

Much unlike a movie, revisiting theatre is a completely new experience, every single time. The new cast members bring in never-before-seen elements, the jokes become a little more current, resonating a little differently every new year.

This year’s performance consists of an exciting cast of both young and prominent thespians such as Patrick De Kretser, Shehan (Babs) Wijemanne, Reihan Stephen, Roshane Jayampathy, Chantal Dassanayake, Heshal Pieris, Dion Nanayakkara, Aadil Osman, Suranee Gomez, Hashen Ratnayake, and Tharusha Kumarasinghe.

Jehan was most excited about the new ensemble, stating that “the cast is so very talented – the young ones especially. I hope for this to be a launching pad for many of them to enjoy a thriving career.”

Bengal Bungalowfunctions as a fundraiser for various welfare projects and also to fund future original works for the troupe.

The StageHands Project, which is the humanitarian arm of CentreStage Productions, has been actively initiating theatre-based workshops around the island in order to address social and youth issues.

The troupe’s works have also travelled around Sri Lanka and overseas, and featured in the foreign media; the funds raised via the play provides for such ventures as well.

Above all, Jehan stressed on the importance of original theatre – providing that CentreStage Productions prides itself in its original works. He said: “It is immensely important to write and direct original works; work that resonates our Sri Lankan Identity,” further adding that “by creating original works, you are also adding to the literature.”

The production team of the play recommends purchasing tickets soon, as many have already purchased theirs.
Tickets are priced at Rs. 3,500, Rs. 3,000, Rs. 2,300, and Rs. 1,500.

The Box Office for Bengal Bungalow is open at the Lionel Wendt.

Tickets can also be ordered in bulk via the CentreStage Hotline 0772949767.

So run and grab your tickets for the fast-paced, absolutely hilarious, smash-hit comedy Bengal Bungalow!