Sparkling Stars2014, the concert of the Primary school of Gateway College in Colombo was staged at the NelumPokuna Theatre. The audience was treated to performances of a very high standard far surpassing the standard that one expects from Primary school concerts anywhere. Every single student of the Primary School, from Play Group to Year 6, took part in the concert.
The first night brought on stage kids between the ages of 2 ½ – 7 years. The first half of the show centred on the famous folklore of ‘ThoppiVelenda’- the Hat Seller. The script had been cleverly drawn to capture diversity of the natural beauty of our country. The Hat Seller was seen travelling through the length and breadth of the country from the sea shore to the village hamlet and the hill country. The different sub culture in each of these areas revolving round their livelihoods was brought to life by song and dance peculiar to each part of the country. Of course the story had to end with the hat seller encountering a group of monkeys who were eventually out smarted by the hat seller. The kids did not fail to highlight the moral of the story, that little children are like monkeys in copying adults and requested the adults “to take care and be good and nice” much to the amusement of the audience who were left in stitches.
The second half saw an innovative adaptation of some of the familiar fairy tales. Goldilocks with more than three bears, snow white with dozens of dwarfs and a sleeping beauty woken up by a frog prince no doubt stretched the imagination of the audience.
The second night brought on stage kids from 7 – 11 years of age. The theme was Sri Lankan History. The story began with the early years of Singhabahu confined to a cave and eventually breaking free. The scene then shifted to the landing of Prince Vijaya with his group of 700 and the encounter with Kuveni. Next the intriguing story of Pandukabhaya and his tryst with destiny. The beginning of the Agriculture based society was skilfully depicted through beautiful dances. The Highlight of the Kandyan Kingdom was the Perahera with a magnificent tusker animated by the students themselves which received a thunderous round of applause. Then followed the era of foreign invasions and the influence of European countries on the fabric of Sri Lankan society. The tea industry and the game of cricket were portrayed as lasting impressions of colonialism. The evening culminated with gaining of Independence and the unfurling of the Lion Flag.
It was clearly evident that the students had gained much knowledge and understanding of Sri Lankan history through this concert. It demonstrated how class room teaching can be further enhanced though drama and theatre.
Hats-off to Gateway Kids for exhibiting two nights of star class entertainment that educated all present. The creativity of the teachers and the immense talents of the students were the striking feature of the entire show. The show was directed by Mr. Jerome L de Silva, a veteran of Sri Lanka theatre, who functions as the Director of Performing Arts of the Gateway Group of schools.