From Shakespeare to Faiz, NAPA to recreate classics in February
By: Rafay Mahmood
KARACHI: The troupe from the National Arts and Performance Academy (Napa) that was all set to perform in New Delhi, returned to Pakistan with a heavy heart. Contrary to what was expected after such a disappointing experience, the Napa premises was buzzing with activity; the campus was full of graduates, students and teachers engaged in conversation in different corners. At a press conference held on Wednesday to announce their latest play Venice Ka Saudagar (The Merchant of Venice), students sang and news of some exciting upcoming performances was also revealed.
“As per our commitment with the people of Karachi, we are hoping to perform regularly,” announced Napa’s Artistic Director Zain Ahmed at the press conference. “This February, we’ll have quality entertainment running in our campus every weekend. We will try to carry on this trend all year,” he added.
The spree of shows unveiled at the press conference is slated to begin from January 31 and will go up to February 24, comprising three plays and four musical renditions. The performances will kick off with an Urdu translation of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, which has been directed by Napa alumni Akbar Islam and includes students as opposed to graduates in the cast. This play will be followed by Manto aur Ghalib: Ek Guftagu, which is an excerpt from their play Mantorama which was performed at a literary festival in Kolkata. Following this will be a musical tribute to Faiz Ahmed Faiz called Zard Patton Ka Bun, which includes original music composed by Arshad Mehmood and has Zain Ahmed handling the theatrical aspect. They have also planned the performances of two short plays directed by Zia Moheyyedin, called Shaam Bhi Thi Dhuaan Dhuaan and Salgirah, both of which have cast Rahat Kazmi and Naila Jaafri as the lead roles. The last and the most interesting is a musical presentation called Amir Khusro, the music of which has been given by Napa graduate Ahsan Bari under the supervision of Ustaad Nafees Ahmed Khan, the head of Napa’s music department.
“Paying tribute to someone as gifted and diverse as Amir Khusro will be a challenge for the youth,” said Khan, who was also present at the press conference.
“Whenever we think of Amir Khusro, there are a number of musical genres that cross our minds; we have qawali, tarana, khayal and many more so it is difficult to cover Khusro as a whole. You will get to hear Khusro in a very different manner,” Khan added.
All the musical presentations will be live. The choir will also largely consist of Napa graduates and students. It may have seemed that Napa is slowly turning into a theatre academy because it never featured any music shows, but music department’s involvement in campus activities is a positive sign.
As the series of back to back performances kick off in Karachi, the two short plays directed by Zia Moheyyedin will be performed in Lahore and Islamabad. All Karachi performances will take place at Napa. The tickets are priced at Rs600, with a 50% discount for students.