Roger Seneviratne - One Of Sri Lankan Master Actor

Sri Lankan master generalist Anjana Gamage had a execlusive interview with Sri Lankan well talented master actor Roger Seneviratne. Above is the conversation.

Roger Rooted In Teledramas

Those who watch "Chathurya" telecast every Sunday at 9.00pm on Swarnavahini will remember Themiya played by amiable actor Roger Seneviratne. We were able to catch a glimpse of this busy actor when he was on the sets at a huge mansion on Pepiliyana Mawatha at Kohuwala.

The location was well-known writer Martin Wickremasinghe's daughter's house. The shooting was for another episode of Chathurya.

Actress Nayana Kumari who plays the lead role as Chathurya and Nilanthi Wijesingha as Themiya's mother were also on the set at the time.

Roger Seneviratne, One Of The Busiest Actors

Although Roger became popular through the small screen, he began his acting career with the theatre.

"I joined the theatre in 1976 when one of my friends, Milton Jayasooriya introduced me to veteran dramatist Sugathapala de Silva. His political play " Dunnadunu Gamuwe" was my first back stage role of a prompter and as an assistant stage manager", he said.

After "Dunnadunu Gamuwe", I took part in many stage plays such as Prof. Sarachchandra's " Wessanthara", " Merchant of Venice", " Twelfth Night" and " Mandaram Wehi", he said.

Then he tried his hands on translations and his first work was " Death of a Clerk, a short story by Anton Chekov. It was later made into a short play by him as an experimental production in 1986.


He then translated "Caligula" which was made into a play titled " Paswenna" (The fifth). The play won eleven awards at the drama competition conducted by the National Youth Services Council (NYSC) and it also won the awards for the best director and best production at the State Drama Festival in 1993.

"The stage plays "Paswenna", Sunanda Pushpakumara's "Spartacus", Uditha Gooneratne's " Inhuman" (Avamanawa), Susil Gooneratne's " Men with Shadows" are some landmarks in my acting career in the theatre" , he said.

"Whether it is a translation or an original production, my feeling is that we should go to the world with the talent of acting. The language is no longer a barrier for acting. I have already taken part in international productions. I played a role as a university student in " Mother Teresa" and " Return to Bangalore" as well", he said.

Roger began his film career by acting in a short film " Parajithayo" directed by Prasanna Amarasinghe in 1981. He has acted in 12 films so far. Parakrama Niriella's " Ayoma', Vishvanath Buddhika's " Sihina Deshayen" and " Milla Soya", " Lokuduwa", Vasantha Obeysekera's " Dorakada Marawa", Dharmasena Pathiraja's " Wasuli" are some of them. The latest of his acting career, K.A.W. Perera's " Sumedha" will be screened shortly.


"We need a school for actors. Such a school will help improve their skills. I have participated in several workshops locally and overseas. Therefore I know the value of a practising art. Several associations are struggling for the rights of the artistes. But so far no government has supported them to achieve this target", he pointed out.

"Santhrasaya" a story based on James Hadly Chase's " One Bright Summer Morning" was Roger's first teledrama production and it achieved the best rating for ITN in 2001. His second production " Chathurya" which is now being telecast has also received the highest ratings.

"Viewers sometimes complain that there are some differences between the Chathurya novel and the tele production, specially when it comes to the background of Chathurya's family. When asked to explain he said that he had done some changes in consultation with the author Edward Mallawarchchi.

"Although I have come from the theatre, the Sri Lankan theatre has not improved. The reason is that we don't study on theatre.

It is something that has a connection with the soul. Practice is essential for theatre and when the intention is wrong, the product will be affected. You should not produce with the purpose of winning awards", he said.

Roger who has three sons has a rare hobby of collecting roots. Whenever he observes a root, he wants to take it for his collection. So far he has more than 200 roots with him.