Felicitation Ceremony for the Cast & Crew of Duwa hereditary passion play
Jointly organized by the Drama, Theatrical and Visual Art units of Kelaniya University, under the academy of “Lalitha Kala” and Duwa Passion Play committee, Duwa hereditary passion play was reenacted on April 4th 2009 at Bishop’s College. This was after twenty years and was a rare opportunity for those interested in the theatre and drama of Sri Lanka.
It is with great pleasure that we announce that there will be a felicitation ceremony for the cast & Crew who took part in the reenactment of Duwa hereditary passion play. The event will be held at Jubilee hall, St. Mary’s church, Negombo on September 4th 2009 at 5:00pm. The head of the academy of “Lalitha kala” Dr. Patrick Rathnayake and other distinguished faculty members of University of Kelaniya will take part in this grand ceremony. This event will also mark the release of photo album and video DVD that contains the entire re-enactment of Duwa Hereditary Passion Play.
Duwa The Passion Play Village
It is not wrong to say that there are huge number of articles and reference about Duwa, the village of passion play written over the past. Not only in our country, but also the rest of the world have written and read about this passion play in Duwa that runs back for 400 years.
According to the evidence, It can be conformed that the sacred statue of Christ in Duwa is more than 170 years old to date. It is believed, that this life size statue was brought into the village in 1839.This also reveals that there was once a tradition throughout the world that use statues to resemble the passion of Christ and passion plays were a part of Christian life.There are about a dozen of Christian Catholic cities and villages along the west coast of Sri Lanka. The only question that comes into my mind is that why, with having all these places, the passion of Christ was deep rooted in Duwa, Negombo?
Comparing with other villages, Duwa is tiny as the palm of my hand. And I believe that this is the main reason that Duwa community is living a better and stronger Christian life than any other. The deep belief, independent self governing and simple life as fishermen, and not having extra forces effecting the life led this community to grow in faith and trust on God and Christ and were always under the protection of mother Mary. The Duwa village itself is so religious, that it seems like the Nazareth home is converted into a village.
Time to revive Duwa Passion Play
In the 19th century, some fisherfolk in Duwa sailed to South India in their catamarans to buy dry fish, nets and other fishing apparatus. Among them were three brothers Juvam, Domingo and Peduru who were the sons of Mihindu Kulasuriya Adrian Fernando. They came to know Jokeenu Maistri, the great sculptor in Cochin. In consultation with the elders of Duwa, they asked Jokeenu Maistri to make a statue of Christ for the Duwa Passion Play.
In the season of Lent in 1838, a group from Duwa went to Cochin to bring back the statue of Christ. As the paint on the statue had not dried, Jokeenu Maistri had advised them not to remove the statue immediately. However, the south west monsoon was about to set in and as sailing back would have been difficult, they brought the statue to Duwa against the advice of Jokeenu Maistri.
The people of Duwa welcomed the statue of Christ with pomp and ceremony. However, when they opened the casket to their dismay they found the paint smudged and the statue mildewed. They were disappointed that they could not perform the Duwa Passion Play the following year (1838) with the new statue.
The elders wanted to get Jokeenu Maistri to Duwa to repaint the statue. As he was too old Jokeenu Maistri sent his most senior pupil for the purpose. The pupil re-painted the statue with a mixture of gold, and as a result the statue has a special gold tint not found in other statues of Christ. The magnificent statue of Christ in Duwa attracted more and more people to the Duwa Passion Play.