ISLAMABAD: On the fifth day of the ongoing Youth Drama Festival, a play by Urdu dramatist and writer Syed Imtiaz Ali Taj was brought to life by students from the Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi.
The play, which is a work of satire that depicts the typical problems of a married couple, is called Gungi Joro and was performed at the National Art Gallery. The festival is a juried event.
Set in the office of a judge whose wife is mute, beautiful and wealthy, the play revolves around the loving couple. The husband wishes his wife could speak so he could hear her confess her love for him.
After miraculous treatment, his wife gains the ability to speak, at which point her husband realises she was better off mute. He is irritated by constant, irrelevant arguments and her arrogance, to the point that he takes medication that will make him lose his hearing.
The performance was directed by Mohammad Bilal, who also played the male lead. The play ran for an hour and consisted of one set and four actors.
Mr Bilal said: “We wanted to revive old theatre, with decent language, without slapstick humour, and with wordplay and lines that trigger laughter in the audience.”
Sidra Suleman, who played the female lead, said: “People miss the artistic form of theatre they could enjoy with their families. Our effort is to make them realise how good quality theatre used to be.”
Unfortunately, dialogue delivery in the performance was weak. The lines also felt rushed, which has bothered judges throughout the drama festival.
Shahid Masud, a former controller at PTV, has urged aspiring theatre actors to differentiate between stating, delivering and performing dialogue.
“Students are obviously rehearsing insufficiently, and this is possible why dialogues are not coming to them naturally and they are just throwing lines. Acting is a time consuming exercise, and must be done with a lot of feeling,” Mr Masud said.
The theatre group is not made of first-timers, and the group has won theatre competitions before. Mr Bilal played his character well, and captured his frustration in being distracted by his wife’s relentless conversation while he worked. Ms Suleman too, played the role of the wife well, and not only annoyed her husband but also some of the audience members.
The next two performances will be Diya Jalaye Rakna and Ishq Gadagar on Saturday.
Originally published in Dawn, May 21st, 2016