Monday, November 1, 2010

'Khel Jari Hai' plays on well in Karachi!

The Poster
Have you ever wondered what it takes to bring a theatre play to life? How rehearsals are done and what are the dynamics of the relationship among the actors behind the stage? Both these questions were answered in NAPA Repertory Theatre’s latest play, ‘Khel Jari Hai’, an adaptation of Rick Abbot’s famous comedy play, ‘Play On’. The play was adapted in Urdu by Babar Jamal, a NAPA student, and directed by Rahat Kazmi.

In a nutshell ‘Khel Jari Hai’ revolves around a group of actors who are trying to put together a murder mystery play but things aren’t coming together as smoothly as the director wishes them to. The play is due to be staged in a few days and most of the actors don’t remember their cues. There are also problems with the set design, the sound and the props, especially the wall mounted safe. Nothing appears to be ready for the final performance. To make matters worse the playwright keeps making last minute changes in the script, hence compounding the frustration of the entire cast and director. What follows is a funny and often bordering on sarcasm, war of words between the actors, director and the playwright.

Even though the concept of the play was rather strange (it was a play within a play!), the actors pulled it off quite decently. It was rather a big cast and almost all of them (minus one or two) were constantly on the stage. Akbar Islam was very comfortable in his role as the director who tries to keep everybody happy without losing his cool. It was very refreshing to see Bakhtawar Mazhar perform a comedic role (she was a senior actor within the play and threw some brilliant tantrums!) and she showed, yet again, what a versatile actress she is. Ali Kazmi and Mehwish Siddique were the lovers both in the play and within the play! Mehwish was spontaneous; both with her dialogue and body language and her colourful costumes brightened up the stage. It was Ali Sheikh who had the audience cracking up with his crisp dialogue delivery and sarcastic one-liners. Rauf Afridi was the ‘pathan’ sound and light man in the play and he, also, had the audience laughing. It was a pity his role was so small but even then he left a memorable impression.

A major disappointment in the play was the lighting. It was really nothing special and left much to be desired. The brochure and the poster were also amateurish and a tad bit tacky. The set, on the other hand, was very nicely done; in fact, it was like a mini theatre within the arts council!

A large number of people had turned out to see the play which was very encouraging. There are not many avenues of entertainment for us Karachites (besides the food joints) and in this time of inflation and stress a good laugh is always welcome! So, Play On NAPA!

'A mini-theatre within the arts council'
'War of the words between Director (Akbar Islam, far left ) & sound man (Rauf Afridi, far right in blue)

'The playwright announces changes in the script yet again!'
(L-R: Bakhtawar Mazhar, Sayem, Mehwish Siddique, Afsheen Hayat, Zarina Ahmed, Ali Kazmi, Ali Sheikh)
'Trouble at the dress rehearsal'

(L-R; Akbar Islam, Mehwish Siddique, Tanwir Abbas, Ali Sheikh)