They say “All good things come to an end” but Napa’s Performing Arts Festival, which concluded on Sunday, is a new beginning for the academy and its artists. Years of hard work and rigorous studying finally paid off as the artists shone and received great applause from the audience.
Zain Ahmed, the in charge of Special Programmes at Napa, had given the students full authority to experiment — a decision that paid off. “The response has been amazing,” said a jubilant Ahmed. “We had a very intelligent audience; there were people from all ages, from teenagers to grandparents, and they all were able to digest the intense narratives,” Ahmed told The Express Tribune.
A total of six plays and four music performances took place during the 10-day festival but some actors and musicians carved a special place in the hearts of the audience.
Actors who left a mark
Mansoor Ahmed as Salman
An alumnus of Napa, Ahmed hasn’t been part of many of the earlier Napa Repertory Theatre (NRT) plays but his acting in “Art” came as a pleasant surprise. He was genuine, funny and above all, managed to infuse a new spirit into the play.
Akbar Islam as Hermann Kafka
Islam, who has played crucial roles in almost all Napa productions, is a household name at the academy. But the character of Hermann Kafka, the father of German writer Kafka, brought out the best in him.
Adnan Jaffar as Dr Waheed
Jaffar, who played the role of a scientist in the play “Koel”, managed to enthral the audience with his meticulous dialogue delivery. Earlier, Jaffer, impressed everyone as Sameer in “Art”.
Nazarul Hasan as Martin Dysart
Hasan is one actor who will go places if given the right direction. His remarkable portrayal of Martin Dysart, a psychiatrist, in “Equus”, shows what a talent powerhouse he is and what he’s capable of doing.
Musicians to look forward to
Ahsan Iqbal Bari
Bari’s performance of the afternoon raag “Madhmand Sarang” on the fourth day of the festival was indeed a memorable one. It was by far one of the best performances of eastern raags on western instruments and the inclusion of sarangi, in particular, left the audience spellbound.
Abbas is a vocal powerhouse and his command on eastern classical music can take him places in the music industry. However, although he has proven his talent as a vocalist, Abbas is yet to impress us as a composer.
Rasool, who played the role of Franz Kafka in “Kafka”, the young boy who blinds six horses in “Equus” and a lazy, laid-back nawab in “Hoon Muntazir Mein”, was the pick of the festival. Performing such diverse roles to near perfection is a sign of a skilled artist.
Directors and producers should keep a close eye on him as he could prove to be an asset for the theatre and maybe even the TV industry.
What lies ahead?
With the massive success of the festival, the important question that arise is: What lies ahead for the institution and the artists? “We definitely plan to make this festival an annual event. Additionally, music fans should keep their fingers crossed as Napa is all set to organise an international music festival this year which will include participants from all the Saarc nations,” stated Ahmed.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 14th, 2012.