Published on Thursday, 15 December 2011 08:31
President Mahinda Rajapaksa will open the Nelum Pokuna (Lotus Pond) Mahinda Rajapaksa Performing Arts Theatre today.The Theatre built on a model similar to the Nelum Pokuna (Lotus Pond) of Polonnaruwa, was constructed with expertise from China at a cost of Rs 3.08 billion.
Physical as well as spiritual developments are both important when considering the overall development of a country. Creativity and perception can be considered an integral part of spiritual development.
Though, there are thought processes, which enhance the Arts and Aesthetics in our country, facilities necessary for enhancing creativity are sadly lacking. This is common to all Arts in Sri Lanka. For example, the hosts of technology shortcomings are responsible for the dearth of mega cinematic creations emanating in our country. Yet, we are the proud heirs to a level of performing arts coming down from a long period of time which can overcome these short comings. Some of these have a long history, going back to a period surpassing other civilizations the world over. It is a felt need of hour to modernize, what we have inherited, to suit the present century.
Facilities in our halls, where dramas can be staged today are poor. The theatres available, even in the main towns, of our island, are over fifty years old and have little in the way desired facilities,. In spite of these short comings our audiences are privy to productions of very high quality.
In order to develop a contemporary tradition it should be our task to indulge in research and the development of new creations, rather than protect and replicate our traditional system per se. This theatre of performing arts can be envisaged as a place where skills, fresh ideas are blended to form a truly Sri Lankan mega tradition.
While this stage and facilities will give new value to our performing arts it will provide an opportunity for our artistes to take their creations to the international arena.
Further, we have not been able to get down to Sri Lanka any of the great operas produced internationally. When Khemadasa produced an opera on an unfamiliar stage, it appeared to be foreign to us, because we had no idea of operas, as we had not come into contact with them earlier
The absence of suitable facilities may have been the reason for Khemadasa’s inability to storm this gigantic production on to the international stage. It may have been the absence of a stage of this magnitude that unfortunately prevented us from getting the full effects of this maestro’s production.
This is not just another construction of the Chinese Government. The possibilities to make use of the latest creative sound techniques have come along with it. The present generation will have the privilege of using the varied facilities that were not available to the giants of yester years, such as Sarachchandra and Khemadasa. Therefore, we can hope to witness quality productions in the future.
This theatre will also give a fillip to drama as a component of school education. A new generation of artistes will be born. It will be possible through this addition, to hope for a new dialogue, a new introduction as an alternative to the poor values, the lack of progressive ideas, and poverty in quality that are the order of the day and that these would be replaced by a fresh dialogue that would bring fresh values, progressive ideas, steeped in quality. Many facilities such as a modern stage, needed by performing Thespians are included in this theatre. This would result not only in a new awakening but also in advanced technological knowledge of performing arts and their use and also much needed discipline, the technological advances in stage dramas, are emerging as a vehicle bringing in new ideas to the fore. As such a dialogue will be created whereby recognition of indisciplined and vulgar productions will be recognized and rejected.
We are much obliged and grateful to the Government of China for providing us with a theatre of this nature.
Great honour is also due to our President His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, who insists not only on the physical development but also the spiritual development of the nation and made this dream of a modern theatre a reality.