By Randev Jayasinha
Vinodh Senadheera, an old boy of S. Thomas’ College and one of the exceptional dramatists of our time was always an active member of the drama circle.
Many a Thomian thespian owes their career in the field of drama to this stellar gentleman.
Vinodh was never one to shy away from a challenge, and in the time that I knew him, fondly known as ‘Vinodh Sir’, he always wanted to break past the stereotype.
He was always pushing to go beyond the barriers of the set ‘traditions’ of the Sri Lanka drama circle and that was evidently so in the final few dramas he produced.
He was constantly pushing himself and others around him to be the best they could be. Always with an encouraging word or a stern comment, we always knew that he was looking out for our best interests and supported our endeavours all the way.
There was never a dull moment when we were in his company, and in the time, I knew ‘Vinodh Sir’ the lessons we learnt are endless. He was just filled to the brim with knowledge and always with a positive outlook; he truly inspired everyone in his presence.
We spoke to a few of his close friends and students and here’s what they had to say about him.
Thomian Drama Society for 2019 President Anuk Dharmasena commented: “Vinodh sir is an irreplaceable personality whose passion for drama spurred the DramSoc on for decades. We are so fortunate to have worked with him till his last moments on a project that was very dear to him.”
“Words cannot express my gratitude to you, sir. You were always very supportive – in the classroom, in the choir stalls, on stage and in life. You were a confident guide, a silent companion, a splendid teacher and an exemplary mentor. It aches to think that I can no longer turn to you when need be. I hope you know how much you meant to so many of us. Your impact will not run dry. Until we meet again” are the words of another of Vinodh’s fond students, Oshanthaka Cabraal.
Ishan De Lannerole, fellow old boy and close friend of Vinodh said: “A true friend, guru, mentor when my brother called me from your bedside I never imagined that you would leave us in a couple of hours. Under your direction Rohan and I both won the Best Actors trophy and we have had the pleasure of singing with you in the college choir. We have worked on numerous presentations together, shared many laughs and good food together. Life won’t be the same without you Vinodh.”
Janeeth Rodrigo, one of his students and a cast member of productions at S. Thomas’ College, stated: “For every one who has been fortunate enough, the name Vinodh opens the floodgates to great memories that are etched on every wall of the College Hall and the Lionel Wendt. His eccentricity and love for the art are crucial elements which drew me to theatre and made us enjoy every production we undertook. Dear Sir; May you entertain many within the hallowed halls of heaven and until we meet again, go break a leg!”
Danu Innasithamby, another one the many friends of the great Vinodh Senadheera commented that: “16,425 days of Vinodh Senadeera is a lifetime to treasure!”
‘Vinodh Sir’, although his true passion lied with the drama movement, he was also a gifted writer and this was truly evident in a comment given by Nigel Walters: “He made me understand the importance of writing and writing effectively. All what I gathered from drama, I owe it to him. He pushed all of us to achieve our goals.”
Vinodh Senadheera was a special person to us all.
He loved what he did, and he did it well. He was a gifted thespian, a passionate chorister, an amazing teacher, a talented producer, an encouraging choirmaster, a stellar playwright and above all a true friend.
You will be missed.
The funeral service was held at S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia’s Chapel of Transfiguration on Saturday, 19 January 2019.
Service commenced at 3 p.m. and shortly after, the burial service was held at the Borella cemetery.