“Finally I’m in a place where I’m doing the kind of work I want to do, and I’m being seen in the way that I want to be seen,” says Sri Lankan-born actor Sanjit De Silva. Landing the part of an American CEO in Sarah Burgess’s new play, Dry Powder, a high-stakes financial drama which opens this week at the Public Theater, is a milestone in De Silva’s decade-long career as a working actor in New York City. “I hope this trend continues,” he adds smiling.
De Silva left his native country in 1984 at age seven, not long after the outbreak of a civil war that would tear apart the South Asian nation for the next 30 years. (His parents each belonged to the opposing ethnic groups in the conflict, which made normal life untenable for them in the country.) After a brief stint in Africa, the family moved to America in 1986. Now based in Brooklyn, De Silva recently spoke to me about his experience establishing a career as an actor in his adopted country, both as an immigrant and a person of color, and about his current role in Dry Powder.