KARACHI: Napa’s next production is what its programme director Arshad Mahmud calls their “best foot forward”, a dramatisation of Maxim Gorky’s play The Philistines. Directed by industry veteran Zia Mohyeddin and titled Dhaiti Deewarain, the play is set to be staged at Napa from May 14-31.
Depicting the crumbling Russian society at the turn of the 20th century, the play weaves in the old and the new, and the ever-present clash between the two. The significance of the play is particularly relevant to our society as it raises the issue of “the proverbial generation gap which has always existed and will always exist”.
What makes this an exciting venture is the inclusion of senior, experienced actors from the industry alongside Napa students and graduates.
The main protagonist is a domineering father, unwilling to allow the tide of change overwhelming his home and will be played by television and theatre artist Khaled Ahmed. Known for directing many plays for Napa, this time he is performing under the directorship of Mr Mohyeddin. He spoke about the origins of the play and how it symbolised a significant time in Russia’s political and social history.
This particular role holds a lot of contemporary truths for Khaled Ahmed, of a man rigidly set in his ways, unable to accept change and not allowing his family to do so too. He then went on to share his experience of working with Mr Mohyeddin.
Meesam Naqvi, also a member of the cast, has been performing with Zambeel Dramatic Readings and garnered a lot of popularity for his ability to envelop himself in any role he undertakes. Also assistant to the director, Mr Naqvi spoke about his experience of working with and under Mr Mohyeddin. “It is a master class to see Zia Sahib taking interest in the smallest of details and changing them according to the demands of the scene. It is a privilege to see how he manages a character, completely encompassing himself in it and just observing him teaches us a lot.”
Although Mr Mohyeddin’s absence was felt by many, all the cast members spoke about the dramatic process of working with him, shedding light on how he had taken interest in the set, the clothing to complement the time the play was set in as well as the accessories accompanying them.
Kulsoom Aftab spoke about the sleepless nights she faced on finding out that she would have the chance to work with Mr Mohyeddin. “A chance to work with Zia Sahib and that too in a Napa Repertory Theatre production was an emotionally charged and forceful process for me.”
The year has been a busy one for Napa. Their Napa-I am Karachi Theatre and Music Series is already under way with the last play to be staged on Saturday at the PACC. The theme of this series was Karachi and young talent in the city was given a chance to stage their original dramas and plays.
Also, auditions for the music series are under way at Napa and will be held at the auditorium of the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs from May 21-23, with an entry fee of Rs100.
Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2015