OF WIT AND HUMOUR
Humankind is prone to perceive and are capable of transforming society, politically, socially or economically. Performance artists often convey these opinions more popularly through humour, satire or tragedy. In any performance of comedic nature, the character/s deliver the unapologetic truth to their audience. The themes of political humour in the aspects of performance art explore and delineate the notions of reality much closer than an ordinary performance. In fact in today’s context, people have begun listening to comedians more than their politicians. We live in an era where comedians improve the quality of our life by helping us question social and political systems that determine our everyday life and livelihood, and are a dominant influence on society of which their social commentary is consumed religiously. In this context, Dino Corera, one of the foremost stand up comedians and English theatre personalities in Sri Lanka, plays a critical role in holding a mirror to society in reflecting its follies and vices, particularly that of Sri Lanka’s political, social and economic systems through wit and humour.
Dino Corera is also a voicing artist, host and radio personality with broadcast experience spanning over ten years. As an actor he has portrayed the roles ‘Marius’ in ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘Annas’ in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ presented by the Workshop Players. His other performances include ‘Bengal Bungalow’ and ‘Stormy Weather’ by Centrestage productions, ‘And Then There Were None’ with Cold Theatre Seven, ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ and ‘The Irish Curse’ presented by Identities Inc. He was cast in multiple roles in the acclaimed ‘Pusswedilla’ series of satirical plays revolving around political commentries upon Sri Lankan state leadership and the ‘Freddy Series’, also revolving around political humour and social commentary in the form of stand up comedy, presented by Stage Light and Magic. In conversation with Dino, we explore his journey and evolution as a performance artist, the scope of stand-up comedy as performance art and its role as a tool of social agency.
Q | In your opinion, what is the most critical factor that distinguishes stand-up comedy as performance art ?
A | I say it is performance art mainly because stand-up comedians need to find an intricate balance between content matter and adapting its presentation based upon the response of the crowd. You have to understand how your routine is managed in a scenario, because every time you are in a different crowd, your routine changes. How you pause, where you pause can imply different meanings. Globally stand-up comedians never have a set routine. They have small sub routines and adjust accordingly to the response of the crowd. Stand-up comedy holds an adaptive process and is presented to a live audience, so you don’t have time to think. You don’t have the luxury of a scene change or a lighting change to draw the attention of the audience away. It is scary. Doing stand-up is probably the scariest when you go up on stage as there is no set characterization. You say what you say and you have to mean it.
Q | What do you enjoy most about stand up comedy ?
A | What I believe is most beautiful about stand-up comedy is you are able to lose the encapsulation of a character and be yourself. There’s no second skin, it’s just you.
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