Ajoka to embark on nationwide tour from October 29 to perform latest production ‘Kaun Banay Ga Badshah’
The city’s premier theatre troupe Ajoka Theatre is set to embark upon a nationwide tour, performing its latest production, Kaun Banay Ga Badshah, at selected venues across major cities of Pakistan. The journey that will start on October 29 from Peshawar’s only cultural complex, Nishtar Hall, will see stops in Faisalabad, Multan, Hyderabad and Karachi. The play will also run at the open-air facility at Islamabad’s Lok Virsa Museum on October 31.
Back home after a surgery for gastrointestinal cancer in New Delhi, the troupe’s mover and shaker Madeeha Gauhar is still bedridden. But family sources state Gauhar is recovering rapidly and will soon helm the production. Gauhar’s husband, Shahid Nadeem, quoted her as saying that she’s up for the country-wide tour that will serve as a major theatrical event. “It’s a new play that aims at increasing awareness among the masses about societal participation. The purpose of performing across the country is to reach out to a wider audience,” she was reported to have said.
Nadeem, who is also Ajoka’s executive director, said the troupe has always aimed at piecing together theatrical productions and the only way to spread the idea is to bridge the gap between artists and audiences. He stated that after working out collaborations in different cities, the number of shows and venues will increase over the course of the tour. Life is quite busy at the company’s office these days.
India gets a taste of Ajoka
Written and directed by Nadeem himself, Kaun Banay Ga Badshah is in its final stages of production. Rehearsals are being carried out, costumes are being procured and the cast is busy memorising their lines. It has already been staged in Lahore once, but keeping the national tour in mind, the entire production team is busy drumming up the production.
The play’s story revolves around the current socio-political scenario of the country where the ‘chosen few’ have seized the steering wheel and the rest await divine intervention. “Democracy is a relatively new concept for our people. The masses have been permitted to exercise their right to choose their rulers only in intervals when military rule was not the order of the day,” Nadeem added. “But do they really choose their masters? Are they a part of this game or mere spectators? These are questions that need to be answered.”
Across the border: ‘Ajoka carried message of peace to India’
According to a brochure, Kaun Banay Ga Badshah is a game show, hosted by Big Boss, a mysterious character assisted by a well-mannered understudy named Nizam. The game show is layered with political undertones with a high entertainment quotient. It also raises pertinent questions about the future of Pakistan and its frail political system. “It is a thorough entertainer with a sensibly-constructed political undercurrent.” Nadeem is confident his actors will put up a show worth watching and said Gauhar’s return will lift the team’s spirits.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 21st, 2015.
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