Interview with Mohamed Adamaly: A life in English theatre
Mohamed Adamaly is one of Sri Lanka’s best known theatre personalities. As an actor, director and now increasingly a producer of films as well, Adam, as he is often referred to, always brings to English theatre memorable performances and drama.
We began our conversation with how Adam started to act at Royal College, including in several directed by Shyam Selvadurai, the current curator of the Galle Literary Festival, who was his classmate. We talked about his grounding for theatre studying in the English medium, and how family bereavement completely changed his plans, taking him unexpectedly into the family business, law and more fully into professional theatre.
We talk at length about English theatre, including the reception of Shakespearean productions and how elements of theatre changed since the time Adam first took to stage, especially during the long years of war. We also touched on the economics of theatre, on the paucity of sponsorship for serious productions dealing with contentious political and social issues, versus those more comic or farcical in nature dealing with simpler themes. Adam goes into what he feels will be the (serious) theatrical productions in post-war Sri Lanka as well, both reflecting back at the war and also dealing with enduring cultural, social, political and economic issues after war’s end.
In this wide ranging interview, Adam also touches on his approach to acting, the quality of English theatre in Sri Lanka today and the lack of cross-fertilisation between Sinhala and English drama. Adam’s next performance will be in Love Letters, a Pulitzer prize nominated drama by A.R. Gurney, going on the boards at the British School Auditorium on the 12th and 13th February.