It is said that he presented “Ehelapola Nadagama” in It is on record that in a nativity play was performed in Kammala on the incarnation of Christ. Nadagam had a complete dramatic convention in contrast to those earlier Passion shows. As nadagam the earliest form of Sinhala drama with fully fledged theoretical performances has first come to the stage as a nativity play it could be said that Sinhala drama had its origin in Christmas. In the 18th century there was another form of dramatic performance in Sri Lanka known as “Pasku” enacted on the Passion of Christ. Gabriel Fernando of Chilaw. Before each actor came to the stage, the Pothe Gura introduced them too in a verse called “Innisai”.

The well-known puppet plays like “Ehelapola” and “Wessanthara” were based on nadagam stories and well-known characters in nadagam like “Sellan Lama” and “Konangi” were found in puppet plays as well. The characters in the drama as well as the audience overlook her independent opinion here as she agrees with her male relatives. During Christmas many nativity plays are enacted on the Birth of Christ in a stable and incidents connected with it. They analysed that at this point, the Prince declares his love, and that she reciprocates. Gabriel Fernando of Chilaw. The former is a confident warrior and the latter who had led a sheltered life throughout, is feeling exposed and vulnerable in a forest, an unknown, dangerous place. She was the passive figure in this scene, when the two men fought.

Then, he expresses his feelings for her, which she replies that in her opinion, the truth as she sees it as seen earlier in the drama:. It is a classic contribution made by Catholics for arts and xrama in Sri Lanka.

Maname A tale of destiny | Sunday Observer

Followed by this statement, Sarachchandra lets the story flow, allowing the audience to analyse the situation, Fonseka explained. Before long nadagams on secular themes like “Ehelapola”, “Sinhavalli”, “Portia” and “Mathalan” were performed in various parts of the country and nadagam became a recognised form of drama in Sri Lanka.


The climax of the story is where the Prince overpowers the Vedda King and asks for the sword from the Princess to kill the Vedda. Sixty years after its first production, the Sunday Observer took on a quest to peek into the subtleties of Dr. There is evidence that nadagam have originated in Christmas. As time went on folk dialogue, folk attire, dance forms and folk music too were absorbed to give nadagam a distinct local outlook.

The Jesuit priests in Jaffna presented Catholic plays coming down from the Portuguese tradition in Terukuttu style that was popular in Jaffna and Batticaloa.

It was very much later, specially after the famous Passion Play at Pesalai, the Passion shows developed into fully fledged drama. The statues were moved by people covered by the cadjan walls so that to the spectators it appeared as if the statues were moving on the stage. Though in love, Diddeniya explained, it is important to understand specific characterizations of manme Prince and the Princess Maname.

Anura Fonseka, Project Coordinator for the Tower Hall Theatre Foundation and a former close associate of Sarachchandra said, the story is about destiny and coincidences. All the dialogue was in verse or rhythmic prose. There have been nativity plays in Sri Lanka from the times of the Portuguese.

Offended, Prince Maname challenges the Vedda King who stands up to the challenge and establishes his authority by stating that the forest is his kingdom and demands that the Scri;t leave the forest, leaving the Princess behind.

Most of the Nadagam artistes now turned to puppet drama. Blessed Joseph Vaz seeing that people loved to see puppet plays initiated the performance of Passion Plays on the model of religious drama he had witnessed in Goa with images of sacred personages. He has expressly said, he wanted to change the perception of women in the drama, as the Jathaka Story states that women are unfaithful. A major criticism levelled against nadagam was that modern themes could not be presented in stylised drama.


Maname A tale of destiny

Pieris and “Selesthina” of Charles de Abrew were other well-known nadagams. It cannot be ruled out that there were no dramas in ancient Sri Lanka.

This is the first time her opinion contradicts with the male opinion in the drama and the Prince scrit aghast to hear her. Please be kind, my beloved, fine King. Did Sinhala drama originate in Christmas? There were new themes, well parted scenes, better lighted stages, make-up and well developed orchestra in nurthi.

Maname A tale of destiny. There is a popular belief that Sinhala Nadagam was introduced by Philippu Singho. These Passion shows were performed inside a large shed which was covered at the bottom with cadjan walls about six feet in height.

As nadagam the earliest form of Sinhala drama with fully fledged theoretical performances has first come to the stage as a nativity play it could be said that Sinhala drama had its origin in Christmas.

Gabriel Fernando of Chilaw. It was based on the Birth of Christ in a stable and the worship of the divine baby by the Three Kings of Magi. In this “Raja Tunkattuwa” was revised and re-cast by Juan Pinto. It was written by Marthelis Gurunnanse.

WWW Virtual Library: Sinhala drama

These magnificent stylised drama appealed to both the elite and the commoner. There have also been age-long puppet scriph made of Kaduru wood during festivals. However, they appear to be wayside performances.

Edmund Pieris, former Bishop of Chilaw who had done much research on the origins and development of Sinhala Nadagam shows that the first Sinhala Nadagam was Raja Tunkattuwa presented by M. This was followed by many other Sinhala nadagams on the lives of Saints and other Catholic themes.