The story of a girl who could not go to school

May 19, 2016

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A scene from the play Umeed staged at PNCA Auditorium on Wednesday. —Photo by Tanveer Shahzad
A scene from the play Umeed staged at PNCA Auditorium on Wednesday. —Photo by Tanveer Shahzad

ISLAMABAD: The third play at the week-long Youth Drama Festival being held at the National Art Gallery was a story girl in the village who wants to be educated and that of her parents, who struggle with making her dreams come true.

The hour long play, ‘Umeed’ presented by the Federal Urdu University was well written and all the artists, each of whom was performing for the first time, brought authority and control to their roles.

The play addressed the importance of education with emphasis on the importance of educating girls on order to form a civilised society.

It was written by Fouzia Akhtar who teaches computer sciences and stated writing three years ago. Discussing her play, Ms Akhtar said: “Education enables women to play their role in the progress and development of the country and we need to remove barriers to female education”.

The play is set in a village where Bilo, played by Sadia Akhtar, hopes to become a doctor one day and the whole village find her aspirations pointless, including the village Chaudhry played by Hamza Malik, who fears that educated villagers will one day challenge his authority.

“It was smart, ambitious and well acted”, said Najeeb Qidwai, a member of the audience.

Despite its serious subject matter, the play also managed to make the audience laugh with its “outrageously funny” lines, according to a guest.

The play ran over its time limit by a bit because of frequent rounds of applause during and after the performance. Ayesha Ayub was a natural in her role as Shano, the manipulative village girl and was funny and elegant in her role, which she played with precision and skill.

The characters of the dumb and carefree Najee and the scheming munshi played by Usman Naeem and Rashid Hussein were the other outstanding performances and were impeccable with their comic timing.

The organisers of the event said the aim of the Youth Drama Festival was to provide the younger generation with a platform where they can showcase their talents and promote constructive theatre.

The next play in the festival will be “Aleef Iqbal’ by Quaid-e-Azam university and will be presented Thursday.

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2016