A regular Friday night finds a wealthy trust-fund Colombo native on a gay dating app trying to find someone for a few hours. In walks a British expat, looking for a few moments of pleasure and not much else. What is supposed to be just a run-of-the-mill one-night experience becomes something quite different. Over two one-day encounters, mostly confined to a crummy one-bedroom apartment, the two men make love, tell stories, inebriate and commiserate, and in the process share their lives with each other. As the pair tangle between lovemaking and connection, sex and sexuality, love and lust, The One Who Loves You So grapples with the complexities of short-term intimacy, and asks what becomes of love when it has no recourse to future illusions. The One Who Loves You So is a candid and honest love story; a play about our universal struggle for connection.
THE ONE WHO LOVES YOU SO is Arun Welandawe-Prematilleke’s new original work, debuted to a small audience on the south-west coast of Sri Lanka in December 2017.
In a departure from Welandawe-Prematilleke’s recent work, mostly pieces of original, devised immersive-theatre experiences (Paraya 2013, Close to the Bone 2016), THE ONE WHO LOVES YOU SO is a raw and personal look inward for the young Sri Lankan playwright and director.
However, it still follows Welandawe-Prematilleke’s penchant for asking some important and difficult questions. While the show is about love and the frailty and vulnerability of youth, it is also about gender, sexuality, queerness and class in Colombo.
The play is a striking literary and theatrical exploration of being a young gay man in Sri Lanka, a country that continues to criminalise same-sex sexual relations. Personal and political, it pushes audiences to reflect on their own inner landscapes, while appealing to the specific yet universal desire within each of us to be loved.