My Life My Art

By Ravibandhu Vidyapathy

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Judas

I have always been fascinated by the stories in the Bible (coincidently, I was born on 25th December). My father too was a fan of Biblical stories and encouraged me to read the Bible, especially the old testament. I was drawn towards the dynamic characters there of like Herod, John the Baptist, Salome and Judas. Judas in particular, drew my attention for his mixed qualities. A man trapped in his own destiny.

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Young Killed in Wars

Somewhere in the early nineties, I saw a painting by Chandraguptha Thenuwara, titled 'Death not foretold'(නොහැඟි මරණය). Thenu, after his training in Russia was experimenting with new forms and expressions while I was thinking of tackling contemporary themes in dance which were quite absent in our dance theater. His paintings had an academic style (To me Thenu is the best portrait painter after Stanley Abesinghe). The painting with it's browns, grays and blacks against the whites created an eerie feeling.

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Macbeth

Macbeth was my dream for 22 years. In fact, I conceived it, wrote the libretto/scenario, did sketches and drawings and costumes in 1986. But, the dream was only realized in 2008. Shakespeare's Macbeth contains some of fantastic ingredients for dance; Macbeth - a soul that falls prey to his own destiny. lady Macbeth - that crafty woman who is greedy for power, the witches - symbolizing the latent evil in man himself, the mystic Birnam Wood and the dagger scene. All provide fertile grounds for effective chorography.

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Othello

My first encounter with Shakespeare’s Othello was when my father took me to the light-rehearsal of Ernest Macintyre’s production of Othello at the Lionel Wendt theater. I think it was the year 1968. I must have been around 8 years of age. I remember roaming about in the isles during rehearsals. That production was special. Because it included Chithrasena in the cast, of course as Othello. This Sri Lankan version of Othello was inspired by the 1964 John Dexter production played at Old Vic Theater, London which featured Lawrence Olivier and Maggie Smith in the lead roles.

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