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by Kultur Kolla

So here I am folkses. The Kultur Kolla is back with the skinny on Indu Dharmasena's new play "Aladdin."

Before I do that though let me get on my soapbox for a second. I was on my way to the play when I was stopped by some cops on the Kotte highway. Now, I'm the first guy to admit that my tg was a little out of date (okay about 1 1/2 months). But, this guy was threatening to bust me for it .. and he wasn't even a traffic cop who (if I understand right) had the right to book me for it. Then he asked me for a "podi support" to let me go. So I ponied up. My problem is here.. I don't mind using what the Chinese call "fragrant grease".. After all, this IS Sri Lanka where its a way of life. But I DO object to such extortionary practices. Well, I'll get to the play now.

As usual Indu has come up with a nice production. Although it didn't have its first showing on the 26th as originally planned since Indu had a lost her voice. When I finally got to see it I found it worth the wait.

One thing. Aladdin was NOT about the fairy tale. I personally had a feeling that the play was more about a social commentary than as a fairy tale. there were refernces to politics, politicians, and various other evils of the political world today. Naturally this had the audience laughing. Heinlein once said in his book "Stranger In A Strange Land" that we laugh at what hurts us. In that case we as a people must be hurting indeed.

I had a few problems with the production though. For one thing the speaking voices of the actors was rather soft. I had a fairly good seat but still found it difficult to hear some of what was said. This was made even more difficult by the laughter of the crowd at all the jokes. Of course, this may be due to my destroying my hearing by listening to too much hard rock, but I doubt it. The only other problem I had was with the ending. What started off as a pretty good political satire soon degenerated into a Pollyannaish "why can't we all just get along" morality play. Its probably just me.

The acting was pretty damn good. Although there were a few times when the acting seemed a little wooden and one time or two where they flubbed the lines a bit. Indu was in top form despite her laryngitis, using an amplifier to make herself heard (better living through technology.) The only problem was that the sound system at the Wendt tended to distort her voice a bit. She managed to convey a nice sense of lasciviousness and some nudge-nudge-wink-wink pelvic grinding.

So in the end how does it rate? I don't have a star system yet, but I would say this is a play worth watching. The sheer entertainment value makes up for any shortcomings in production. So listen to your uncle Kultur, go watch this play.

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This page was last updated on the 27th of November 1999