Young Directors' Theatre Fest: 'Here Lies A Noble Man' is an ambitious stage production

Young Directors' Theatre Fest: 'Here Lies A Noble Man' is an ambitious stage production

Addressing the theme of ambition in Macbeth and Othello, the experimental play succeeds in impressing the audience
25 Nov, 2015

KARACHI: Murder, mayhem and intrigue were all part of the offering at the Young Director’s Theatre Festival on Tuesday with the production Here Lies a Noble Man. Organised by the National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa), the play adapted characters from Shakespeare’s classics Macbeth and Othello, and director Hammad Sartaj introduced a twist to the production by crossing the two separate storylines and binding them with a similar thread — ambition.

Here Lies a Noble Man opens with the shrieking of the three witches from Macbeth, who lay in anticipation for the arrival of the future Thane of Cawdor, also the future king. They prophesise his rise and fall, and offer his companion, Banquo, similar prophesies regarding his descendants.

The audience was exposed to an experimental form of theatre presentation in which they were part of the frontlines, in the midst of battle, and an integral part of the action.

Surrounded by Shakespeare’s classics, it seemed like a theatre-lover’s dream come true. Many aspects of the play were meticulously presented, from the background score to the standardised black-themed wardrobe in an attempt to blur the boundaries between the two plays. There was no clear demarcation between the scenes too; Macbeth and Lady Macbeth were found in the backdrop of one scene in which Othello and Iago were in conversation.

The production comprises an exciting cast. From Meesam Naqvi who plays Macbeth, to Farhan Alam who plays the Moor. Alam internalised the role of Othello to such an extent that it outshone all the other characters, even Naqvi’s Macbeth.

Lady Macbeth’s unbridled passion and ambition is remarkably harnessed by Sonia Ashraf and Sunil Shankar is fascinating as Iago, with the constant concealing and revealing of his true intentions, as and when required. The major characters of the Here Lies a Noble Man are exceptional in their performances.

However, the secondary characters fail to live up to the mark. Be it the role of the sweet Desdemona, Banquo, Cassio or even Macduff, all of the actors are easily forgotten.

The staging of the play tries to emulate the concept of central staging in which the audience surrounds the action. However, there were certain times when due to the character facing the other side of the staged area, some dialogues became muffled.

The physicality required from the actors due to the constant changing of scenes was a demanding element of the production and managed very well. However, due to the overwhelming attendance, the entry and exit points of the characters seemed crowded; yet none of the actors were fazed by this minor hiccup and kept the momentum of the play going.

Characters in Here Lies a Noble Man do not shy away from expressing their heightened emotions; the love between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth is of a sexual nature too, but there also exists violence. This is projected with confidence by both Naqvi and Ashraf. They complete each other, especially when both decide to kill the anointed King Duncan.

Adapting Shakespeare’s plays and translating them into Urdu must have been a daunting task. Credit must be given to the director for making it easier to comprehend even for those not familiar with the plays, while at the same time staying true to the original.

Some of the action takes place off stage as the main aim of the play is to explore the choices Iago and Macbeth make along the way to their eventual downfall.

Ambition may have been the hamartia of both Macbeth and Iago but it is what propelled them to become immortal in Shakespeare’s eyes.

Here Lies a Noble Man will be staged at Napa on Nov 25.

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2015


Qamar Valliani Nov 25, 2015 11:23am
NAPA is one of the best academy in Asia.
Recommend (0)