Seen: The Mourning After

Prayas Theatre have built a reputation for putting on excellent productions of Indian plays, offering artists and audiences a connection with the countries they, or their forefathers, left behind. This too is the theme of The Mourning After, playing in the Basement Theatre this week, a new work by Ahi Karunaharan, a second generation New Zealand Sri Lankan.


Sri Lanka is seen through the eyes of a nice young kiwi, Shekar (played by Shaan Kesha), who, on his father’s death, returns to the village he left behind so that his spirit can return to his ancestors. The village, flattened by the tsunami of eight years prior, consists of only one house which is inhabited by an old man, Somu, played beautifully by Mustaq Missouri, and his nephew, Raju, played with a charming youthful naivety by Ravi Gurunathan.


Since the disaster there has been no rebuild, no electricity, and Somu believes the spirits are angry. Raju obligingly assists with the rituals to try and put things right, but it is not just the spirits who are cross. A voluble neighbour, played by a convincing Sudeepta Vyas, is kept away by an aggressive kabaragoya – a giant monitor lizard brought to life by Anjula Prakash – and an odd man with a limp (Pratekk Vadgaonkar) who fishes for memories and hangs around for reasons not explained until the very end. Somu’s one claim to fame was to play a minor role (‘seven extra scenes!’) in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and the long evenings are spent by Somu re-enacting the key scenes with a reluctant but biddable Raju.


So far, so promising; a stranger in an exotic land where the spirits are part of life, a terrible natural disaster and the aftermath of which audiences know little of, and a central character with charm and plenty of quirks. However, it is a tricky balance for a playwright to know how much to conceal and what to reveal throughout a play, and on this occasion, too much is hidden for too long. Nothing happens for a long spell, and then it is too little, too late. Also, the characters who make the choices that drive this story are mostly absent, which makes the work unnecessarily obscure. Somu and Raju are lovely characters but they don’t go on a journey, while others do, but are offstage. Show us more, tell the story.


There is an excellent creative team working together in this company: the lighting was beautiful; the set lovely, rich with colour and texture, and a sprinkling of sand on the floor - though I think a more flexible, imaginative approach may have been more successful in bringing out the undercurrents in the plot. However, if the characters’ onstage actions have no consequences, and if there is little at stake for the characters themselves, the audience could well find themselves becoming uninterested. There are plenty of opportunities to develop the stories within the play, and I hope that the author returns to it. As someone once said, good plays are not written, they are rewritten – this one is still a draft, and only a workshop or two away.


  1. Angelica 25 July, 2016 at 05:45 Reply

    Des études récentes montrent également que Garcinia cambogia peut aider à
    réduire le cholestérol sanguin en plus de réduire la sous-cutané stockage des graisses.

  2. Matt Linklater 1 February, 2019 at 08:50 Reply

    My coder is trying to persuade me to move to .net from PHP.
    I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses.
    But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using
    Movable-type on a variety of websites for about a year and am concerned about switching to
    another platform. I have heard fantastic things about

    Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress posts into it?
    Any kind of help would be greatly appreciated!

  3. Yeezy 26 April, 2019 at 11:37 Reply

    These automakers will have the opportunity to respond to preliminary conclusions. But if convicted, these companies will face a fine of up to 10% of their global annual sales.

  4. Nike Air Zoom 28 April, 2019 at 00:47 Reply

    Apple does not offer an advertising version of the subscription service, and Apple currently has more than 50 million paying users worldwide. But Apple’s global growth is growing at a rate of 2.4% to 2.8%, while Spotify’s growth is 2% to 2.3%.

  5. gamefly 4 May, 2019 at 01:50 Reply

    Having read this I thought it was extremely informative.

    I appreciate you spending some time and energy to put this information together.
    I once again find myself personally spending a lot
    of time both reading and commenting. But so
    what, it was still worthwhile!

  6. minecraft free download pc 10 May, 2019 at 02:47 Reply

    Thanks on your marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading it,
    you can be a great author. I will be sure to bookmark your blog
    and will eventually come back in the foreseeable future.
    I want to encourage that you continue your great job, have a nice day!

  7. download minecraft pc 12 May, 2019 at 19:07 Reply

    I have to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in penning this website.
    I’m hoping to see the same high-grade blog posts from you later on as well.
    In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my very own site now ;

  8. g 14 May, 2019 at 04:21 Reply

    Hi, I do think this is an excellent website. I stumbledupon it ;) I’m going
    to return yet again since I book marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change,
    may you be rich and continue to help other people.

  9. download minecraft 14 May, 2019 at 23:26 Reply

    Hello there! Quick question that’s completely off topic.
    Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My blog looks weird when browsing from my apple iphone.
    I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to
    resolve this issue. If you have any suggestions,
    please share. Cheers!

  10. minecraft download free pc 15 May, 2019 at 08:32 Reply

    Attractive portion of content. I just stumbled upon your website and in accession capital to
    say that I get in fact loved account your weblog posts.

    Anyway I’ll be subscribing on your augment or even I success you get entry to persistently rapidly.

  11. minecraft pc download 17 May, 2019 at 13:26 Reply

    I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was wondering what all is needed to get setup?
    I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost
    a pretty penny? I’m not very internet savvy so I’m not
    100% positive. Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Many thanks

  12. minecraft download mojang 18 May, 2019 at 14:38 Reply

    Somebody necessarily lend a hand to make critically posts I’d state.

    That is the first time I frequented your website
    page and thus far? I surprised with the research you made to create this particular publish amazing.
    Magnificent process!

Leave a reply