Based on the novel Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed, the upcoming play by the same name will be staged at the Lionel Wendt from 28-30 January. Great news for the theatre enthusiasts of Colombo as Director Tashiyana Devarajan collaborating with Artistic Director of Clutch Plays Theatre Mayaan Haputantri are bringing to life a large-scale English production after almost two years, with live theatre having gone into an indefinite hiatus due to the pandemic.
Tiny Beautiful Things in its novel form is a collection of essays compiled from the author’s “Dear Sugar” advice column, which she wrote anonymously, on The Rumpus, an online literary magazine. In adapting It to a play, its contents personifies the questions as we see on the pages and answers what “Sugar” was publishing online, where she uses empathy and her personal experiences to help those seeking guidance. The plot is often described as a play about “reaching when you’re stuck, healing when you’re broken, and finding the courage to take on the questions which have no answers”.
Sharing his thoughts on why he chose this particular play, and its significance, Clutch Plays Theatre Artistic Director Mayaan Haputantri stated: The reason I chose this play is because I felt like if I had watched this play I would have left the theatre feeling better about myself and some of the things I struggle with in my life.”
Mayaan noted that the play addressed a number of heavy topics, ranging from guilt to anxiety to trauma, and according to Mayaan it says the things that need to be said, and what many need to hear. “There’s a couple of lines here and there that you didn’t know you needed to hear because no one’s ever said it to you. I feel like a couple of words here and there has the power to set you off on a path on your own healing.”
Speaking to first time director Tashiyana Devarajan about the rather daunting task that has befallen her, she shared: “I’ve actually never directed before; I’ve only done minor school plays but never apart of something large-scale like this and be a part of a production crew,” she said, noting also that despite the challenge of taking on something she was new to, it was still an enjoyable and rewarding experience. “It’s actually been really fun. We started quite a long time ago and there have been a lot of steps to take but I haven’t been stressed out at all. They’ve all been a lot of fun to work with and they make it enjoyable at all times. Working with the cast, bonding with the cast, it’s all just been an amazing journey.”
Considering the significant timing of the play, with us all learning to deal with the effects of the pandemic and the constant nature of it all, Mayaan shared that he hopes that the play will provide a sense of solace to those who experience it. “When they watch this play I hope they’ll be a little further along their own journey of trying to get to a better place in their lives, whether its recovering from trauma they’ve endured or battling their own thoughts, or battling things they’re going through in their life or being able to cope with things a little bit better, just because they might be able to take something away with them,” he said. Mayaan said that one word really stood out to him when he read the script and it was “healing”. He added that the play itself is amazingly “feel good” and you are sure to leave the theatre feeling just a little bit better.
Tickets are available at the Lionel Wendt box office.
Tiny Beautiful Things
28-30 January 2022
Lionel Wendt Theatre, Colombo 7