TV Times

Srinath brings ‘Muppets Zoo’ to heal tsunami trauma
Srinath bids au revoir to Lankan audiences
By Susitha R. Fernando
Srinath Maddumage is a versatile actor, who has excelled in theatre, radio, television and cinema playing different roles. Over the past two decades Srinath has been part of a large number of theatre productions, over 30 teledramas, radio plays, commercials and films.

Srinath also has made a name as a Muppet artiste and had participated and conducted number of TV programmes with his popular puppet characters ‘Fanda’, ‘Penguin’ and ‘Anthrax’ over the past six years.

Srinath has joined the community service project with his Muppet characters going around the country visiting tsunami camps with his latest show ‘Muppet Zoo and other Stories’.

After completing the production Srinath will hand over his Muppet team and would bid farewell to his fans and will leave for Australia on February 3. Speaking to the TV Times Srinath shared his experiences over the past two decades playing different roles on stage, the miniscreen and cinema.

TV Times: What was your starting point?
I started my journey from the school stage while I was a student at Prince of Wales College, Moratuwa.

Completing my secondary education I studied theatre and drama under teachers like Solamon Fonseka and Rudi Corrence. My first appearance was in the ‘Monarawilak’ stage production and following this I got the opportunity to participate in a number of plays produced by Simon Navagattegama including his popular plays Pandukabaya, Suba Saha Yasa, Sudu Saha Kalu and Lokoththara.

Later I also got an opportunity to play in Sriyantha Mendis’ “Pansa Deke Hansaya”, Jayalath Manoratne’s ‘Guru Tharuwa’ and ‘Andarela’ and H. A. Perera’s ‘Warenthu’.

TV Times: What were your unforgettable moments in your journey as a stage actor?
Over the past few years I got the opportunity to travel to a number of countries including England, Germany, France, Italy, America, Australia and few Middle East countries with Sriyantha Mendis’ ‘Padada Asapuwa’. The response we received from the audience in these countries was tremendous.

TV Times: What kind of roles have you played in the small screen?
I joined the small screen with ‘Kathandara Pituwa’ in 1984. I acted in my first teledrama ‘Watamaluwa’ under Wimalaratne Adhikari and later got roles in teledramas ‘Nedeyo’, ‘Ammai Thaththai’, ‘Suriya Daruwo’ and ‘Wasanthaya Evilla’. And there are few more teledramas awaiting release.

TV Times: How have you fared award-wise?
I received a merit award at the Youth Award Festival in 1985 for the role I played in ‘Vikalpa Samayama’ and also the Best Supporting Actor’s award for Depath Nai at the recently held Sumathi Tele Award Festival.

TV Times: What was your contribution to the cinema?
I acted in Parakrama Niriella’s ‘Ayoma’, and later played a role in in Udayakantha Warnasuriya’s films ‘Gini Avi Saha Gini Keli’, ‘Bahu Boothayo’,’Bahu Barya’ and Anura Horatius’ ‘Sonduru Dadabima’.

I was nominated for the Best Upcoming Actor at the Sarasaviya Film Festival for my role in ‘Gini Avi Saha Gini Keli’.

TV Times: In addition to acting what are the other roles you like to play?
One of my dreams is to join the director’s bandwagon and I was able to experiment this with director Jerome de Silva in his production ‘Ayeth Enne Ne’, the Sinhala version of ‘Widows’ and R. R. Samarakoon’s latest theatrical production ‘Kaputu Bo’.

TV Times: What is the motive behind introducing ‘the Muppet Show’?
Puppetry is not something new to our country. We have a long history in the puppetry art. But the Muppet shows have not reached an audience as a form of art compared to most of the other Asian countries. What I felt for so many years is that it is a form of art which we can be developed and used for different purposes other than just entertaining people.

TV Times: What made the setting of “Muppet Zoo and other Stories”?
First we started with the purpose of the taking the Muppet characters to the public but with the present scenario which came after the tsunami disaster, we decided to take them to the tsunami camps so that they could be used for a good cause on behalf of the people affected psychologically.


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