KARACHI: It is quite ironic when you are in an auditorium watching a drama, knowing that it is of high merit and yet not able to understand the lines that the actors are saying. It happened on Saturday evening when an Iranian group Nahan Theatre put up an intense play titled Some Days Ago as part of the National Academy of Performing Arts’ (Napa) ongoing International Theatre Festival. One could acknowledge the hard work of the three actors — Negin Hamidi, Sahil Modaresi and Mahsa Sobhani — and the perceptiveness with which the director Saeed Kazimeyan developed the plot. It was a moving story narrated in Persian by competent artists; only if the Urdu subtitles that appeared on the extreme top of the backdrop could be more visible, one would have appreciated the effort with far more enthusiasm.
Some Days Ago is described in the booklet provided by the organisers of the event as “a story about the romantic life of women in Iran”. It sure did come across like that.
When the curtains are drawn, the audience sees three women sitting on chairs. The one on the far right (of the audience) speaks first. She sounds a bit agitated, perhaps angry. Once she’s done speaking, the woman in the middle says her lines. The tone and tenor of her voice suggests she is the fighter type. Then comes the turn of the last woman. She is clearly the more pliant one.
It is evident from the manner with which the three characters are speaking that they’re telling their ‘romantic tales’, each of which does not appear to have a happy ending. While they deliver their lines, some footage, though for a brief period, also runs on the screen in the background. In one scene, when the first woman is talking, a horse race is seen, and in another, when the second is engaged with the audience, a car passing through a valley is shown. This means that the protagonists come from different socioeconomic backgrounds with different sets of problems.
The other noticeable thing is that the three women remain seated throughout the hour-long act. This implies that their physical and spiritual selves aren’t together, which was convincingly conveyed to the listeners. It happened because the marked feature of the play is the efficient performance of the three artists. On Saturday, they looked utterly immersed in their characters.
Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2019