Sri Lankan play, The Mourning After, in New Zealand

full_TheMourningAfter_AnetaRuthIn a moving commemoration of their 10th anniversary of producing theatre in Auckland, the much loved Prayas Theatre Company bring the first ever full length Srilankan play, The Mourning After, to the Basement Theatre from June 30 – July 3.

A young expatriate returns to his family home to discover tragedy – his ancestral village and its people have been washed away in the devastating tsunami of 2004.His search among the silt and debris for the remains of his family and his cultural roots take him on the journey of a life time.

The Mourning After offers something different than Prayas’ usual large-scale works of various genres that sell out TAPAC every year. A play about homecoming and light amongst the ramifications of a natural disaster, The Mourning After connects Dilmah Tea, cricket, recent civil war and the filming of Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom, to transport audiences to a SriLanka they’ve never seen before. Exploring themes that will resonate with New Zealanders The Mourning After examines rebuilding and reclaiming life post natural disaster.

full_Ahi_and_Director_Miria_George_in_rehearsalFollowing in the footsteps of other great NZ plays – writer Ahi Karunaharan first presented the bones of this work for his one man Toi Whakaari Graduate Show. Now transformed into an ensemble piece with five actors, the work is primarily in English but also contains Tamil and Sinhalese phrases. Ahi recently travelled back to his village in SriLanka and was inspired by the changes, and non-changes, following the tsunami to rewrite sections of the play. This is a story dear to his heart.

The Mourning After will be directed by Padma Akula who has worked with Prayas for its entire 10 years, in everything from wardrobe and production to directing. This will be Padma’s first time as solo director of a full length play, though she has co-directed and directed shorts with great success, including Crossbow Cat which won the final judges award for Short and Sweet 2014. The Mourning After will feature music by the talented Sri Lankan composer Karnan Saba.

Prayas are excited to announce this will not be their only show for the year – they will be returning to at TAPAC come October. This time it is a play based on the book, ‘A Fine Balance’ by New Zealand’s much loved Indo-Canadian writer, Rohinton Mistry. Watch this space!

The South Asian Theatre Company has gone from strength to strength over the past ten years, providing New Zealand with stories that resonate with the diverse cultural identity of Auckland audiences. These audiences, in turn, have grown with each new production making Prayas both a continued success story and a treasure within New Zealand’s theatrical community. (Courtesy