Wealth Beyond Stillness (or Mano’s Wealth)
Jayalath Manoratne is ‘Mano Ayya’ to many, especially those associated with theatre and films. Mano Ayya’s special ability is to move the audience without moving himself. When he stops or remains still somewhere on the stage you can expect an uproar from the audience. We know what is stillness. We can become still. But he can go beyond that.
Mano Ayya is calm and quiet when he is on the stage, more so than in real life. He is more used to the stage than to normal life. Indeed it is as though his ‘normal life’ begins only when he gets on stage.
He does not do much on the stage. He does not shout. He does not prance around. He does very little, and yet he extracts a tremendous response from the audience, especially when you least expect it.
That is Mano’s style of acting. He does not try to reach our ears or eyes. He does not try to reach our senses. Going through them or avoiding them or by some other miraculous technique he gives a new sense or creates a new sense in us. Without using his hands he can jerk us more powerfully by the way he spells out the words.
But what I want to point out most of all is his super sensitivity about stillness or his extraordinary knowledge about stillness. He knows the slowest movement of words and body. His ability is not to manage speed but to manage slowness.
There is a competition in Awurudu Utasava titled ‘hemin bicycle padeema’ or slow cycling. No actor can defeat Mano Ayya in slow acting or slow movements which generates the biggest effect. He knows to slow down even beyond stillness. That is really what I want to say. When he is on the stage he can imagine what is unimaginable to us.
He is endowed with another and very special mind when he is on stage. So what is not happening in the normal world starts to happen in the theatre when Mano Ayya is on the stage.
Mano Ayya is a man who knows stillness beyond stillness. Mano ayya is an actor who has imagination beyond imagination. Mano ayya is an actor who makes every old word a totally different new word.
Try to go beyond stillness. Try to be still beyond stillness. You will fail. But not Mano.
An atom cannot be divided or split further. When you divide it, it becomes a bomb. You cannot go beyond stillness but Mano goes beyond stillness and when he does it, it becomes acting or more accurately Mano’s miraculous acting.