Ajoka stages play on death row prisoners
LAHORE: The Ajoka Theatre on Tuesday staged its play, Intezaar, in a jam-packed hall of the Alhamra Art Centre, The Mall.
The play is being staged in collaboration with three organisations, Justice Project Pakistan, Highlights Arts, London, and Complicite, a London-based international touring theatre company.
It highlights the sufferings and stories of the prisoners in Pakistani jails. It’s a take on the issue of death penalty which is considered inhuman and degrading punishment in many countries.
It features characters who are prisoners on death row living miserably in jails waiting for their execution warrants. Among them are juveniles, physically handicapped and mentally ill. The play portrays the anguish and pain of the families whose dear and near ones are on death row.
Intezaar is written by Shahid Nadeem and directed by him and Dina Mousawi. The cases of death row prisoners staged during are based on true case histories provided by the Justice Project, Pakistan.
Usman Raj, who played the role of such a prisoner who stammers, received a thunderous applause from the audience for his acting. The interesting part of the play consisted of Ajoka’s actors clad police uniforms moving among the audience in the hall and behaving like real cops. They were asking for identity cards in a rude manner and their performance created its own impact as many people took them for real police.
The set showing a traditional jail of Pakistan with installations, gallows and prisoners in jail uniform and the jailer was realistic.
Madeeha Gauhar and Shahid Nadeem, in their speeches before the play, spoke on the true stories being depicted in the play through various characters, raising the issue of those falsely accused.
Hussain Naqi from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan lauded the play and congratulated Ajoka for staging such a good theatrical production. The play will be staged today (Wednesday) at the same venue.
A Gilgit-Balitistan cultural night was also held at Alhmara on Tuesday. Cultural and folk dances were presented besides a short play titled Bol Kay Hum Aik Hain. There were also instrumental performances on flute, sitar and Rabab.