Persephone : A journey to victory
The world of Greek mythology, where Zeus reigns in the skies, where nymphs dance in the woods, where Demeter sows the seeds of prosperity and where Persephone, her daughter, sings in the sunshine of a woodland glade – it is a truly exquisite genre that is rarely explored by junior plays on Sri Lankan stages. The bittersweet tale of the aforesaid Persephone, how she is lured by Hades, the god of the underworld, into being his wife, and Demeter’s desperate search for her child – was probably even lesser known.
Lesser known – that is, until the Junior Drama crew of Devi Balika Vidyalaya came onto the scene, winning the All – Island English Day Drama competitions 2014, conducted by the Ministry of Education and held at Sirimavo Bandaranaike Vidyalaya, Colombo, on the 12th of October 2014.
The play itself, vibrant with songs, dance, music and melodrama, received much commendation from the judges and the general audience. Especially, appreciated was the performance of Theshani Milindi Weligamage, whose portrayal of the unloved, misunderstood Hades brought her the award for the Best performance.
The script which was written by Sadini Upeka, the cast – everything had a certain sense of dynamism to it, changing subtly yet remaining solid throughout the three performances at zonal, provincial and All- Island levels. The entire cast opened up to somehow step out of their comfort zones and enter the magical world of Grecian legend.
It involved tireless effort on the part of the principal, Col.(Mrs.) W.D.P.K. Samarasinghe, whose support of the whole initiative was crucial; the teacher – in-charge, Mrs. Shammika Edirisinghe, whose relentless guidance and encouragement proved to be a foundation of strength; the cast itself, whose togetherness drove the play into victory-and their parents and sisters to whose undying support, encouragement, assistance and sacrifice, the entire crew would be truly grateful.
All in all, it was a simple play of small origin – the very first prototype version of the script was only six pages long – but it had an epic destiny, just like the tale it drew life from Persephone.