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Done with the old, back with the new

Hindi play ‘Sakha Ram Binder’ and Parsi theatr­e classi­c ‘Hatim Tai’ among others to featur­e in Napa festiv­al

The play by Uzma Sabeen was featured in the last installment of the Young Directors Festival. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

The play by Uzma Sabeen was featured in the last installment of the Young Directors Festival. PHOTO: PUBLICITY


A few years ago the National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa) joined hands with young directors to showcase the works of current students alongside fresh graduates. Few editions on, the festival that had become synonymous with student productions was discontinued and eventually replaced by the International Theatre Festival.

Aiming to rectify erroneous decision and promote emerging theatre talent, Napa is gearing up to unravel the Young Director’s Festival beginning November 17. Speaking to The Express Tribune, Artistic Director of the Napa Repertory Theatre (NRT), Zain Ahmed shares how the academy received close to a dozen applications and was faced with the arduous task of shortlisting six of the best entries.

With both student and graduate-level productions in their final stages of rehearsals, Ahmed states the event will offer a pleasant “mix of both adaptations and original plays”. Hindi play Sakha Ram Binder and Parsi theatre classic Hatim Tai will also be staged,” he explains.

Drama in your living room

The organiser had spoken about Napa’s over-reliance on adaptations in an earlier interview, claiming that the aim was to breathe life into the trend of original productions. “Creativity and room for experimentation were our top most criteria during screening. We only selected those plays that were a little different,” he adds.

Referring to most entries as ‘exceptional’, Ahmed points out that Here Lies a Noble Man and Hatim Tai are the two scripts that stand out amongst all the entries. Hatim Tai is a revised edition of an Urdu play helmed by Napa graduate Farhan Alam, while Hammad Sartaj’s Here Lies a Noble Man is a crossover between the two Shakespearean classics — Othello and Macbeth. “With Here Lies a Noble Man, the director explores the theme of ambition through the characters of Yago (Othello) and Macbeth (Macbeth),” identifies Ahmed.

With all performances being staged by academy students and alumnus (of up to three years) during the course of the 12-day event, the organisers are keen on adding an international flavour to the proceedings with a British troupe set to open the event.

Students stun the crowd with their out-of-the-world performances

The Graeae Theatre Company (GTC) is slated to perform Iron Man, a play which revolves around the arrival of a large mechanical figure [Iron Man] in a small village. Tables turn when the locals are faced with the threat of a dragon from outer space and Iron Man buffers the village against this impending threat. The GTC cast also includes differently-abled actors.

17 Nov: Iron Man (Graeae Theatre)

20-21 Nov: Khel Khel Mein (Aim Productions) —  directed by Akbar Islam

22-23 Nov: Sakha Ram Binder (Napian Stars) —  directed by Shahzad Jalbani

23-24 Nov: Time Stands Still (Loud Theatre Group) —  directed by Ishtiaq Rasool

24-25 Nov: Here Lies a Noble Man (Bullet Proof Productions) —  directed by Hammad Sartaj

26-27 Nov: Hatim Tai (TKF Productions) —  directed by Farhan Alam

28-29 Nov: Ghosts —  directed by Kashif Hussain

Published in The Express Tribune, October 20th, 2015.

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