The Birthday Party – A Play

this and that


Redneck by Lamb of God

A Play by Sharmini Jayawardena

Dramatis personae

Mr Ranga

Mrs Ranga

Mr Thilak

Mrs Thilak




Younger Woman

Older Woman

Birthday boy

1st Child – Singith

2nd Child

3rd Child – Kapith

Cake and candle1

Act 1 Scene1

Spot light falls on two women talking to each other seated at a long table. The older woman at the head of the table. The younger woman right next to her on her right.

Younger woman: I may even win an award…

Who knows…

Older woman: You may even win an award

Who knows…
(Black out)

Light falls on party scene. Children screaming with joy, running around. Streamers, balloons, the works. No music!

Grownups gather in the centre to create a different world where the atmosphere is tense and artificial in contrast to the fun and frolic of the kids.

Younger woman, Older woman, 1st child and 2nd child approach from the far end.

Mr Ranga(master of ceremonies): Come, come, come in Mrs J.

Birthday Boy, here Singith aiya has come with a present for you.

(Birthday boy comes running to meet the guests and grabs the gifts)

Birthday Boy: Happy Birthday!

1st child: Happy Birthday!

Birthday boy: Happy Birthday!

(2nd child doesn’t greet birthday boy.)

(Kids are ushered in to a room by the MC, made to sit down and watch tv)

(younger woman and older woman are introduced all round by MC. Grown ups sit around to

talk, eat and drink, but a silent pallor hangs in the air)

(younger woman cuts across and sits in the furthest chair which is the kid’s chair)

Mrs Thilak: Why are you sitting there? That is Birthday Boy’s chair.

Younger woman: Oh really! Will it break?

Mr Ranga: She wants to make a point, you see…

(Muted laughter all around)

(others interact as at a party. Mrs Ranga walks in and sits by older woman)

Mrs Ranga: So,so, how are you?

I meet your sister at meditation sessions. Of course, we hardly get to talk to each other.
Why don’t you also come? Myee it’s a wonderful thing you know. You don’t know what you’re missing, ah…

Older woman: Oh!

Mrs Ranga: (To younger woman)

Why you also can do it. You must try it and see the vast difference it does to you. There are doctors and lawyers coming for this, you must see…

(Meanwhile Sarath and Dharuni are engaged in a love chat on the divan)

(Suddenly Dharuni joins in the conversation. Speaking directly to Mrs Ranga)
Dharuni: Janaki had eight feet of water in her house… When I went she was washing all her clothes, you know, no, how careful she’s with her things. It seems there were scorpions and crabs also in the water…

Younger woman: Did you notice that it is the people who are too neat and careful with their things who have been the worst affected by the flood. Isn’t it strange?!…How impermanence strikes…I mean…

(Meanwhile the kids have become restless and start screaming and running around)

Sudden black out. Lights are dimmed.

Lights on Grown ups interacting in background.

Lights are dimmed.

(Suddenly out of the blue)

Younger woman: Death is the ultimate experience…

(Everyone can be seen cringing, including Mrs Ranga)

Really, it’s a famous dramatist who said this to me.

(Everyone takes it in turn to say “death?”, “death?” in different tones.)

Suddenly there’s a black-out and a scream is heard from the direction of the kids. It’s an eerie sound.

Younger woman: Why don’t we act it out then…Or would you rather meditate?
(Bout of laughter comes piercing from the wings. Lights dissolve and fade out.)


Scene 2
Mother possessed

Mrs Tilak (mother)

3rd Child – Kapith

Younger Woman (mother)

1st Child – Singith

2nd Child – His sister

Curtain opens on party scene. Adults seated around, chatting. Music in the background.

Mrs Tilak: (To younger woman) My son is well behaved, because I changed his school. Your children’s school can have a bad influence on them.

Younger woman: But it’s the home background that matters. They learn by example… Somehow…

Mrs Tilak: (Gunning for the younger woman) But you spend so much on their education and still you have to send them for tuition.

Younger woman: No, I don’t believe in tuition.

Mrs Tilak: But I know many of them go… I teach my son at home…and he’s quiet.
(3rd Child Kapith – her son comes and whispers something coyly in his mother’s ear and leaves) See I told you, he’s like that… innocent.
Black out.
(1st Child Singith comes rushing in followed by the 2nd Child)
Lighting Brightens or music becomes louder.
Singith: Ma, Do you know the worst word in the world?
Younger woman: Worst word? No, What is it? (looking amused)
Singith: (In all innocence) Kapith told me…It is – Fuck! (loud and clear) Is it true Mama?
(Mrs Tilak collapses and Kapith hides behind his father)
General pandemonium reigns among the rest.
Black out


Scene 3
Doom Shakti
Spot light falls on 1st Child standing on his head, to the strains of deep breathing in and out. In the distance the chanting of OM or some manthra!
Amidst a misty surrounding permeating with the smell of incense, light flashes on figures in various meditative poses, in light shades of body stocking. Gradually the poses change in to different states of embrace, revealed under the twirling of disco lights, so that you get only a glimpse of the figures. Black out.

Birthday Cake1

Happy Birthday Girl by The Equals


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