LAHORE: Kinnaird College for Women University (KCWU) held its annual play, on Saturday and we went to review it for you. Set in the early British society epoch, the play, titled ‘A doll’s house’, portrayed the life of a married couple, the Helmers, that seeks to enhance the perception of a ‘perfect’ life.
The storyline was well thought out and complex, albeit the script was written in the English Language and was straightforward, and this aided the audience in understanding the play’s theme very well. It started off with a simple question, “What is a miracle?”
The voice throw of the young actors, which is an essential element of any play, was admirable. The dialogue delivery was crisp, vivid and emotional, and it was complimented by facial expressions that looked like they were being produced by professional actors.
Two things specifically stood out in the performance. The first was that several actors lent their voice to the play and this not only gave it a touch of originality but also allowed the audience to feel the emotions being portrayed at a personal level. The second was that since Kinnaird is an all-women university, the male characters were portrayed by female students as well. They not only carried off the suits and ties perfectly but also managed their ‘male’ voices in a manner that one was very easily impressed.
The dance sequence of the play was carefully choreographed by Hajra Zahid Khan, who also had a fleeting role in the play, and reflected the time and norms of the society that the play was set in.
The highlight of ‘A doll’s house’ was the ‘doll’ herself. Sohaira Khalid, who played Nora Helmer, made the character come to life with her immaculate acting skills, superb expression control and was complimented by her flawless skin and beautiful voice.
Torvald Helmer was played by Aqsa Asif. Aqsa portrayed Torvald as a conflicted man who treats his wife as a doll to portray the ‘perfect life’ image within society. Although Torvald is a complicated character, Aqsa moved on stage with confidence, poise and charm.
The ‘subordinate employee’, Nils Krogstad, was played by Natasha Faisal. Natasha managed Krogstad’s transformation from the antagonist to a decent person very well. She portrayed the character’s coldness through her compelling gestures and expressions, and later his warmth towards Christine.
Mariyam Yousaf Sheikh, president of the Kinnaird College Najmuddin Dramatics Society, and Keziah Austin came on stage as nurses.
Hadiya Hassan played Christine Linde. Christine had an imperative role in the play and was an old friend of Nora’s.
Dr Rank, an ailing friend of the couple, was played by Nimrah Iqbal Butt.
The play centred on Nora Helmer, the wife, and her secret that she had kept from Torvald Helmer, the husband. She had earlier borrowed money from a man, Nils Krogstad, to save her husband and Krogstad later turns out to be a subordinate of Torvald in a bank, where Torvald had just been promoted to manager. This was considered as a taboo in the society at that time and Nora is worried that if her secret came out, it would ruin her ‘happy life’.
Krogstad blackmails Nora that he will out her if she does not stop her husband from firing him. When Torvald finds out, he lashes out at his wife but cools down after Krogstad tells him that he will not tell it to the newspapers. At that moment Nora realises that she has been living a lie and has been living an illusionary life ever since she got married. She also realises that she has been nothing but a ‘doll, in a dollhouse’. She decides to leave her husband so that she can educate herself.
The play ends with the following dialogue: “A miracle is self-discovery”.
The play was directed by Perin Boga, Nadia Anjum and Mariyam Yousaf Sheikh.