Hot on the heels of his film noir classic “Stormy Weather”, which earned standing ovations in India at Asia’s largest international theatre festival, Jehan Aloysius is back at work on his latest project.
The cast and crew of Stormy Weather, written and directed by Jehan Aloysius and presented by CentreStage Productions, crossed the Indian Ocean to entertain theatre lovers from all around the world last month. Artists from around the world participated in the 20th Bharat Rang Mahotsav International Theatre Festival, which is hailed as Asia’s largest theatre festival. The team consisted of the cast including Jehan Aloysius, Michelle Herft, Joshua Joseph, Trudy Herft, Melmari Cruse, and Tanisha Perera, and the crew with Thushan Dias, Stephan Wijesinghe, and Dion Nanayakkara.
The troupe and the director are grateful to the kind support and encouragement of the Sunethra Bandaranaike Trust, Dulip Jayamaha, Nigel Austin, Thushan Dias (Mahinda Dias Engineers), Dilrukshi Rambukwella (The Lionel Wendt Memorial Trust), Suren De Silva (Audio Image), Dinesh Schaffter, and Nalaka Amaratunga (Walkers Tours).
CentreStage Productions has represented Sri Lanka in the international stage many times over its 18 years. Jehan Aloysius and the troupe have been associated with The Royal Court Theatre of London, ART of Bangalore, Theatrum Botanicum of Edinburgh, Brave Theatre Festival of Poland, Rikskonsertene of Norway, as well as the National School of Drama (by participating in the Bharat Rang Mahotsav Drama Festivals of 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016, and also eighth edition of Theatre Olympics in 2018).
Jehan revealed more of one of his new projects with CentreStage Productions: “My recent show featured Femme Fatales who strive to break out of the objectified and demonised roles they are cast as. Similarly, my new play too features strong women in a more contemporary and universal scenario.” The play – a bold musical – is aptly called “Venus United” and is to be previewed and staged in Colombo soon.
Jehan also revealed that he was inspired to produce this new musical after realising that many female performers were battling various issues that needed a safe space for exploration. And that space is the stage, of course. This “concept musical” is more introspective than the standard plot-driven musical, with bold lyrics and songs written based on various testimonials and interviews of women in Jehan’s life. He says: “Like many of my allegorical plays, ‘Venus United’ is also situated ‘somewhere someplace’, allowing the characters to be universal and obliquely relatable.”
Long-time musical collaborator of Jehan, Avanti Perera is orchestrating Jehan’s lyrics and melodies. He adds: “It’s wonderful to be working with Avanti again after ‘Rag – The Musical’. This show is a more intimate one, but its simplicity and stripped-down musical orchestration means that it should be more nuanced and technically challenging to perform, especially live. Of the show’s message, Jehan stated: “The show is my love letter to all the strong women out there, especially those in the performing arts. It’s a celebration of bold women and the issues they face, while trying to be fearless and seeking equal opportunities.”
The show plans to cast four of the best female “triple threats” in the four key roles. Auditions will be held soon for those bold enough to tell this story and represent these characters. Those interested could contact through CentreStage Productions and Jehan Aloysius’ Facebook pages. Don’t miss this opportunity to participate or witness another groundbreaking original musical from Jehan Aloysius and CentreStage Productions.