Living in a fantasy world

Published: June 21, 2010

Ammi dresses Nafeesa up for dinner with potential suitor Amir Raza. PHOTO: FILE

The Glass Menagerie was a four-character memory play written by Tennesse Williams which premiered in 1944. The play is set in America’s Great Depression and is thought by many to be an autobiographical play based on Williams’s life. The Urdu translation of the play Dil Ka Kia Rang Karoon by Iqbal Nazr is being produced by Napa Reparatory Theater Production and directed by Anjum Ayaz.

The play follows the structure put forth by Williams but is now set in Karachi in the 1950s and tells the story of a lower-middle class Pakistani household.

The narrator of the play is Salman, played by Saquib Khan, who sheds some light on the life that he shared with his mother, Ammi portrayed by Hina Dilpazir, and sister Nafeesa (Jameela Mohammad). Ammi is shown to be a doting woman who adores her children but is over-protective because her husband deserted her and the children, and she is scared of being left alone once again.

Ammi is especially concerned about her daughter, Nafeesa, who suffers from a slight defect in her leg and is acutely shy.

Her mother is constantly looking for a suitor as she believes a husband will bring Nafeesa out of her shell and fix all the problems the family is facing. However, Nafeesa is an introvert and lives in her own idyllic world and only seems interested in playing with the delicate figures from her glass menagerie. Salman has lived with his doting, nagging mother and reclusive sister all his life, and the years have taken a toll on him making him rebellious and needing to escape the bonds which enslave him.

Enter Salman’s friend Amir Raza, played by Ali Rizvi, who comes home for dinner with the family.

He is the solution to Ammi’s need to marry off Nafeesa, and she believes Raza wants to marry her as he was once quite fond of her and used to call her Blue Roses during his college days.

However, Raza does not know of the important role he plays and before he departs, he tells Nafeesa that he is about to get engaged to another lady who he has fallen in love with.

Raza leaves and a heart-broken Nafeesa breaks down in tears. The play concludes with Salman leaving his family in the same way his father did.

The play has three main themes, the fear of abandonment, chasing futile dreams and living in a fantasy world.

Each member of the family has been abandoned, each one has dreams which cannot come true, and each one lives in an unrealistic realm and seems unable to face reality.

The play’s themes are something that everyone in the audience can relate to and the story will touch the viewers heart.

Currently rehearsals are being conducted and the play will be staged at the Arts Council Auditorium in Karachi starting in the second week of July.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 22nd, 2010.

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