On the 23rd July 1983, the Sri Lankan War would devastate. A conflict between the Sri Lankan Military and the Tamil Tigers, the 26 year-long war would witness the defeat of the latter. In over a quarter of a century, it is estimated that up to 100,000 civilians lost their lives. Sri Lanka’s economy suffered, the population endured hardships and devastation inevitably impacted the environment.
The Sri Lankan War was the product of decades of tension formulated by British colonial rule of Sri Lanka. The Sinhalese and the Tamil communities would often find themselves pitted against, the British prioritising the minority Tamil community due to their ‘qualification in English education’. Once colonial rule dissolved, the tension left behind was undeniable. As the minority, the Tamil community would often suffer hardships at the hands of the Sinhalese due to not being able to speak the language. In response to this, the Tamil community would fight for an independent Tamil state.
Written by Nimmi Harasgama, My Homemade Kite is a look back at a life that once was. Krishnaveni (Tripti Tripuraneni) is a hard working employee who does everything by the book. Joe (Mitchell Baggott) is a joker, a co-worker who doesn’t take life too seriously. Both work at a petrol station, completing day to day administrative tasks, both are very different- Krishnaveni the studious shift manager, Joe the laidback fellow employee. Harasgama in creating this pairing allows for an exchange of ideas and culture to take place. Situated mainly behind the scenes of the petrol station, the monotony of counting tuna fish cans cuts through the heaviness of the revelations that lay ahead.
A once revered Bharatanatyam Dancer in her homeland of Sri Lanka, Krishnaveni desperately attempts to flee the trauma that would accompany her fame. Being of Tamil heritage, Krishnaveni would endure a period of imprisonment and torture by the Sinhalese; a terrifying situation that she would eventually escape from, fleeing to the UK to start up a new life. Her story of the past interjects with the now and in doing so embellishes the normality with a weight that makes Krishnaveni heroic. Parallel to this, the story of a young African girl replicates Krishnaveni’s own. A young girl abruptly taken from her family and subjected to a horrific bout of violence notifies all that this sadly is still happening around the world as we speak. Harasgama exhibits ambition with this parallel, however there is a disconnect, due to the fact that the focus is mainly on Krishnaveni’s story rather than the girl’s own.
Harasgama with this story displays the strength of humanity, a woman subjected to violence due to her heritage lives to tell the tale, and carries on with normality. A quiet hero, her story, tells the story of many who’s voices sadly will never be heard.
Written by Lucy Basaba.
My Homemade Kite was shown on Wednesday 16th May 2018 and will also show on Saturday 19th May 2018 at the Tristan Bates Theatre. For more information on the rehearsed reading, visit here…