Attention all theatre lovers: March 11 will officially mark the return of the fourth installment of Napa's International Festival to be held at Napa Repertory Theatre from March 12 to March 31.

Initiated in in 2012, this year’s fest will feature South-Asian as well as European and North-American art as artists from India, Germany and England will be showcasing their work.

Speaking to Dawn.com, festival director Zain Ahmed provided details about the festival:

“The opening ceremony is on March 11 and we'll also be celebrating our 10th anniversary. We have designed a performance which is based on different scenes from plays over the 10-year period. The scenes are thematically linked so we have made a story out of it.”

Zain added: “From Pakistan we have Ajoka and Azaad theatre from Lahore and Tehreek-i-Niswan from Karachi. Hailing from India we’ll have Mahesh Bhatt, Ujjagar Dramatic Association from Rajasthan, Being Association and 5 Senses group from Mumbai.

Schedule for the fest.— Photo courtesy: Napa Performing Arts festival's Facebook page
Schedule for the fest.— Photo courtesy: Napa Performing Arts festival's Facebook page

Directors from Europe and North America include Brigel Gjoka from Germany, Gregory Thompson from England and Brian Golden from the US.

The festival will see collaborations rather than solely Napa Repertory Theatre (NRT) performances:

“This time our focus is not just to show theatrics but to collaborate — so we would learn their style of work too. We have people from India, Germany, and England, so yes, we’ll be getting new ideas from different countries. Plus when you work together, you develop strong bonds of friendship so we need to make global linkages — we needn’t live in isolation. The main purpose is not just to stage dramas but to create global linkages,’’ explained Zain.

He added that Napa graduates will have a separate event in October which will entirely have performances by its students.

Nimra Bucha and Naila Jafri in Begum Jaan from last year— Photo courtesy:Photo courtesy: Napa International Theatre Festival's official website
Nimra Bucha and Naila Jafri in Begum Jaan from last year— Photo courtesy:Photo courtesy: Napa International Theatre Festival's official website

While last time’s festival was a bit longer, this one will stretch 20 days.

“Last time, we practically died doing it, we got extremely tired and exhausted so this time we curtailed it and have taken it in a direction where a reasonable amount can be controlled,” said Zain.

Given that Indian directors Mahesh Bhatt and Pooja Bhatt along with different Indian troupes will be arriving in Pakistan, and at times it becomes difficult for them to obtain visas, Zain said that all formalities regarding their visit have been taken care of: “That [visas] definitely is an issue but this time we initiated the whole process early, and we have been in talks with the interior ministry as well and all arrangements are done so hojayega.”

There are many out there who are unable to express their love for theatre because, lets face it, tickets aren't often cheap. The festival, however, sees tickets being priced lower than usual.

“The tickets are not expensive because we want never aim to earn a ton load of money; it’s not a commercial institution. The tickets will be Rs400 for the people and Rs200 for students as we want a maximum amount of people to come," said Zain.

However Mahesh Bhatt’s 'Daddy' will have a slightly expensive ticket — between Rs1500 and Rs2000. It was the same when Naseer sahib visited and the place was fully packed.”

Last year Naseeruddin Shah's 'Ismat Apa K Naam' drew large crowds even when the ticket was around the same range.

Here's a schedule for what to expect March 12 onwards:

Constellations:

Running from 12th to 13th March 2015 at 8pm and directed by Gregory Thompson from England, Constellations will explore the infinite possibilities in love and relationships.

Kasumal Sapno:

A Midsummer Night’s Dream has been performed previously by Pakistani artistes— Photo courtesy: Napa International Theatre Festival's official website
A Midsummer Night’s Dream has been performed previously by Pakistani artistes— Photo courtesy: Napa International Theatre Festival's official website

Directed by Ajeet Singh Palawat, India's Ujjagar Ujjagar Dramatic Association's Kasumal Sapno will be showed on March 14 and 15 at 8pm. It is a Rajasthan based adaptation of William Shakespeare’s comedy ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.

Among Fog:

Directed by Brigel Gjoka from Germany, 'Among Fog' will run on March 16 and 17 at 8pm and will be encompassing a journey through the local reality of Karachi where extremity of radicalism prevails on both sides and the counterpoint of social classes in covered by the fog of irony.

Akhiyan:

Lahore's Azad Theatre's 'Akhiyan' will be staged on March 18 and 19, 8pm. Directed by Malik Aslam, 'Akhiyan' which means eyes in Punjabi will be a Punjabi play about a blind village girl who seeks a sense of light.

Museum of Species in Danger:

Running from March 20 to 21 at 8pm and directed by Rasika Agashe, Being Association from India brings a compilation of monologues of women characters from mythology, today’s India and literary works, 'Museum of Species in Danger' addresses the issue of women's rights.

Kaun Hai Yeh Gustakh:

Staged on March 22 at 8pm Madeeha Gauhar from Ajoka theatre brings 'Kaun Hai Yeh Gustakh' which centers on literary giant Sadat Hasan Manto’s life, works and events after his migration from India in 1948 especially the famous internal conflict between Saadat Hasan and Manto.

Dara:

Running on March 23 at 8pm Shaihid Nadeem's 'Dara' for Ajoka will delve into the Mughal history like never before as it raises questions about the authority of Aurangzeb who killed his brothers, son, and nephew for the throne and yet is projected as a role model; and how narrativeas have wiped out his brother Dara Shikoh, who was a thinker, scholar and a sensitive artist.

Me, My Mom and Sharmila:

Directed by Brian Golden, Catharsis Productions from US, the play will run on March 24 and 25 at 8pm Date & Time: March 24 and 25 at 8pm. In 'Me, My Mom and Sharmila' writer and performer Fawzia Mirza will narrate her journey with humour as a Pakistani Muslim in small-town Canada to living out as an actress in the heart of Chicago.

Behrupiya:

Directed by Anwer Jaffri , Tehreek-i-Niswan will stage 'Behrupiya' on March 26 and 27 at 8pm. 'Behrupiya' meaning imposter will explore the hypocrisies of those who manage to impress others by faking religiosity and piety.

Tum Kaun:

Running on March 28 and 29 at 8pm, Indo-Pak collaboration ‘Tum Kaun’ is directed by Ashok Kumar and Zain Ahmed from 5 Senses and NRT will look at identity crisis of mixed Indo-Pak parentage and brings to the fore the fore the daily hypocrisies and prejudices we have all internalised.

Daddy:

Film 'Daddy's poster.— images.midday.com
Film 'Daddy's poster.— images.midday.com

Directed by Dr. Danish Iqbal, the last play 'Daddy' will be staged on March 30 and 31 at 8pm by Moonlight Films and Theatre Society from India. 'Daddy' will be the theatrical adaptation of Mahesh Bhatt’s classic film of the same name which is a sensitive story of role reversals in a fairy tale of a princess and her father.

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