Multi-faceted actor and director Sarmad Khoosat’s next venture is a play titled No Time to Sleep in which he will be showing the final days of a prisoner on death sentence.
The play, set inside a replica of an actual death cell, will go on for 24 hours straight and will have no break.
The prisoner, Prisoner Z’s, journey will commence on Sept 26 at 12pm (PST) when his mercy petition is rejected. A social media prologue will depict rolling coverage of the execution warrant and the wheels that are set in motion to carry out his execution. Petitions are filed in court, the media is alerted, the family is notified that scrambles to make the harrowing trip to visit him for the last time.
When the live stream begins, Z will be sitting in his cell in solitary confinement, occasionally being silent and occasionally conversing with the guard who is watching him.
The play is a collaboration with Justice Project Pakistan and will be presented on October 10, which is World Day Against the Death Penalty. The concept is by Ryan van Winkle. It will be directed by Kanwal Khoosat and it has been produced by Iram Sana.
The play is reportedly inspired by JPP’s first client, who spent 17 years on death row. In that time, his execution was scheduled and stayed more than 20 times. Khoosat’s performance hopes to portray what happens to prisoners before their execution based on accounts of guards, former prisoners and their families.
Talking to a media outlet about the project, JPP Executive Director Sarah Belal, said: “For too long, executing states have shrouded this act of killing from the public, precisely because of how cruel, inhumane and degrading it can be. This performance is an attempt to take that hidden reality to the public, so they can know how the state takes a life. We are very excited to have someone of Sarmad’s stature present these stories that have remained untold for years.”
Sarmad has previously delivered several powerful performances, including that of playwright Sadaat Hassan Manto.
No Time to Sleep will begin streaming live at 12am on Oct 10.