Event Name Rassa Parassa Sinhala Stage Drama
Event Date October 13, 2013
Venue RNDM Performing Arts Centre Sorrento
Artists Artists from Sri Lanka
Jayalath Manorathna, Rohana Baddage, Nissanka Diddeniya, Sriyantha Mendis, Madhani Malwaththa
Script: Rohana Dandeniya

Description

Our Second Fund Raiser: We are on the way! RIDMA flower is Blossoming!

After the success of their first project, the Group did not plan for any further projects nor did they have any idea of continuity in the form of a formal organization.  However, around …… 2012 they received the news of the imminent arrival of a folk drama group to Melbourne with plans to stage a number of shows in the eastern states.  The group included veteran giants of the Sri Lankan acting world like Jayalath Manorathna, Rohana Baddage, Nisshanka Diddeniya, Sriyantha Mendis, and then a rising star, Madhani.  The Drama was written by Rohana Dandeniya who was a skilled scholar in the field of folk arts. They were the household names of the Sinhala Stage Drama scene in Sri Lanka & the Group thought they wouldn’t let it pass through to the keeper without taking a good shot at it!

The Folk Drama was called Rassa – Parassa.

Rassa – Parassa was a novelty experience and a somewhat different challenge for the team and the community. Many community volunteers with various skill levels willingly offered their services & joined hand in hand to enrich the event.

The target of the Group was to donate the entire profit of the event to the Sri Lankan Buddhist Vihara in Perth.

Staging Rassa-Parassa in Perth was a huge success, not only due to the presence of veteran Sri Lankan artists but, also, the talented local skills that the Group was able to harness & the enthusiasm shown by the patrons!  The local artists worked hard & made an extremely useful contribution.  Their contributions went a long way in making the event a success!

 Dr. Tharanga Dandeniya, son of Rohana Dandeniya, travelled from Melbourne to Perth to train our handpicked local artists as supporting actors for the drama.

Rassa – Parassa has originally been created as a folklore drama for the performance on open paddy fields, after the end of the harvesting season, for the amusement of the village folk. In ancient Sri Lanka, after the end of the harvesting season which involves truly hard manual labour, the villagers used to enjoy such simple, theatrical performances on open fields, illuminated by oil lamps & grass torches. They enjoyed these simple & innocent entertainments, under the stars, to laugh off their pains and enjoy the fruits of their hard labour before, the beginning of the next crop cycle.

The drama Rassa-Parassa was based on a Sri Lankan Folktale about a village farming couple and their sudden fortune arising out of an ‘unexpected arrival’.  Since its initial production, Rassa – Parassa has been a resounding success in Sri Lanka, for many years.  The Perth community witnessed it on Saturday 13 October 2012 at grand RNDM theatre hall [HK1] in Sacred Heart College, Sorrento beach. It was very clear in the minds of the Group that the well -attended audience was extremely satisfied with this landmark event!

As planned, the Group donated the entire profit of the event, amounting to A$10,000 to the Sri Lankan Buddhist Vihara in Perth!

Reminiscing the event, the Group, now known as RIDMA Foundation Inc., gratefully remembers the support extended by everyone who helped, tirelessly, to make the event such a huge success! Given below is a short list of support that was provided by the members of the Sri Lankan community in Perth:

  • The accommodation arrangements for the visiting artists & looking after their needs were enthusiastically provided by friends in the community. They included Hemantha and Mangala Kariyawasma family, Lilantha Nanayakkara family, Rohitha Ediriweera family and Udaya Walpita family.
  • The group was extremely lucky to have the skills of Sarath Anura who offered his extraordinary talents in providing makeup and other stage arrangements. Normal white cardboard sheets became vibrant coconut leaves in Sarath Anura’s skillful hands. The visiting, professional artists too, were amazed to see the props and stage background settings came out of his craftmanship!
  • Chorus Athula Koralage, Sanath Mapa, Lakshan Samaranayake, Hiran Piyasena,

Thakshila Jayaweera, Menaka Perera, Chandi Medis, Darani Gunarathna

  • Supporting actors as devils: Mahesh, Sidath Kuruppu, Yasith, Devan Gunasingham
  • Sri Lankan low country drum was played by xxx lead by maestro Rohana Baddage. Guitar: xxx Keyboards Rohan Jayawardene and Manju Silva. 
  • Artists Food: 
  • Hemantha Kariyawasam & Devan Gunasinham looked after the overall project while Ranjan Weerasinghe was in-charge of the finances.
  • Prins Kodikara was supported by the rest of the team with stage setups and many other things.
  • Praneeth Silva expertly helped with stage managing & as usual, was exemplary in that most important role.  
  • Who else?

We have taken great care to include the names of everyone who participated in numerous ways to help make the event a success.  However, there is the possibility of inadvertent & accidental non-inclusion of names & possible errors in the accuracy of the contents of the list shown above.  We seek forgiveness for any such errors & omissions & extend our very sincere thanks to everyone who helped make the event a success!!

We would like to pay our respect to two of the artists who sadly passed away, a few years ago. 

They are two of the most famous artists to have adored the Sinhala Drama Stage, who were part of the theatrical group that performed in Perth, on 13 October 2012.

One was Rohana Dandeniya who passed away in  13 July 2016. Then, in 12th January 2020, Jayalath Manorathna who was considered one of our greatest ever artists passed away, leaving a huge vacuum in the Sri Lankan Arts Sphere!

May they attain Nibbana!

The team who were behind the successful project