The ‘khel’ continues

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Theatre is the most expressive form of art. Unfortunately, in Pakistan certain negative stereotypes have been associated with theatrical plays. Stage dramas do not come close to representing what this art really is, and to prove this point, young and talented students have taken up the task to reinstate the true meaning of theatre.
An effort to dissociate negative stereotypes from theatre, a collaboration of young students calling themselves Theatre Hub has emerged.
Theatre Hub recently produced an intensely engaging play “Khel Jari Hai”, spread over a 5 day span, at Alhamra Mall Road Hall 2 from 16th to 20th July. The play turned out to be a great success amongst the theatre goers of Lahore since the story revolved around how a group of actors led by an incessantly hardworking director and an extremely annoying writer, try to stage a play and make a whole mess out of it. It must be said that to take up this theme was a gamble that paid off as it deviated from the standard realms on which plays attract the audience. But with the remarkable performances and the incorporation of originally composed soundtracks, they raised the bar to a whole new level for all other theatre groups.
The play was originally written in English by Rick Abbott by the name of ‘Play On’ and was translated in Urdu.
Beautifully choreographed mimes and live music complimenting each act gave a whole Broadway touch to the play. What was really impressive from the audience’s point of view was that each character had a very original and well built presence on the stage. During the acts, there was some indomitable drumming by one of the actors, Eice Khatana, who had the audience hooting and shouting at the top of their lungs. The whole performance was a blend of wonderful acting and a well charted incorporation of creative ideas. Worth mentioning is Talal Ali Jan’s direction, because it was his creativity that came up with an integrated mix of well choreographed mimes, original soundtracks, brilliant acting and mature comedy all on one stage by putting together a flawless performance.
One of the actors, Minahil Zaman, describes her experience: “It was a great change from a monotonous routine. I learned a lot: how to be an actor, how to be a better performer and how to be a team player. I made great friends and everlasting memories. Theatre Hub has opened up a new dimension to my life after this production and I hold it very close to my heart.”
It should be noted that it was Theatre Hub’s first commercial venture where they had tickets for each show rather than free passes. Hats off to the producer Ahmer Zaman Khan and his team who managed to grab hold of full houses on 3 of the 5 days! Not only was the hall well managed with such a huge crowd, but there were people so happy with the play that they came back next day in larger groups to watch the play again. This was a huge achievement on Theatre Hub’s part.
All in all, such theatrical plays give off a new ray of hope that there is still a surviving ground in Pakistan for theatre. The basis of the dramatic form of entertainment is the emotional catharsis experienced by the audience. As long as quality plays are provided, theatre culture will successfully thrive in Pakistan.