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Ajoka plans a tribute for Faiz and Alys

January 27, 2012

Faiz Ahmed Faiz with granddaughter Mira.

LAHORE: Ajoka Theatre will stage a play based on correspondence between famous poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz and his wife Alys when he was in jail.

The premier theatre group will also hold a three-day Manto festival in May to pay a tribute to the daring short-story writer Saadat Hasan Manto, Ajoka Artistic Director Madeeha Gauhar told Dawn on Thursday.

The play on Faiz, however, will be staged on Feb 13 and 14 at Alhamra Art Centre, The Mall.

Ms Gauhar said the schedule might be changed if Naeem Abbas, one of the lead actors of the play, did not join the rehearsal. Abbas suffered a tragedy on Jan 9 when his daughter died of stampede in a concert.

She said that arrangements for a three-day festival on Manto were also in the works. "We shall produce a new play on Manto to be choreographed by Wahab Shah. Some old plays of Ajoka will also be staged in the festival to be held in May," she said.

Another three theatre groups from India and one from Karachi will also be part of the festival. Besides the future engagements, Ajoka had had a busy schedule in January.

Ms Gauhar said Ajoka visited India from Jan 19 to 24 to perform one of its most celebrated plays, Mera Rang Day Basnti Chola, at the prestigious National School of Drama festival in New Delhi.

Some 100 or so theatre groups participated in the festival. She said Ajoka also performed the play in Amritsar.

"We had such a good time in India; people held our production in a high esteem," she said. The troupe was very happy to get a thundering applause in the neighbouring country, she said.

Their joy was short-lived as soon after landing in Pakistan, they were greeted by a Punjab Assembly's resolution banning concerts in schools.

Ms Gauhar knows such bans do not work as her theatre group has suffered such bans in the past.

She said the earlier government had banned kite festival (basant) and their play 'Burqavaganza'. Now music concerts have been banned. Let me tell you this attitude would rather make things difficult instead resolving the problems," she said.