Intra-NUST drama festival: Through theatre, expressing mistrust in the justice system

Published: May 24, 2012

A scene from one of the plays. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD JAVAID

ISLAMABAD: 

During the first Intra-NUST Drama Festival, the NUST Debating and Dramatics Society (NDDS) tried to make the event enjoyable while shedding light on important issues being faced by the country.

At the festival that took place on Tuesday, the students managed to pleasantly surprise their audience.

Teams ‘Dramaybaaz’ and ‘Akheer’ seriously dealt with themes of injustice and drug abuse respectively in their original plays, ‘Kyun?’ and ‘Drugs: a death call’,  whereas team ‘Bio-Humor’ addressed the inherent problems with communication, language and translation in a humorous fashion. Team ‘Stagefreaks’ portrayed a wayward Romeo in a comedic social commentary ‘Deewanay Afsanay’.

However, one of the most entertaining performances was not a play, but an unconventional dance performance titled ‘Midget Dance’. While some may find the premise and title offensive, the audience seemed thoroughly amused. Final year MBA students Sheraz Khan and Asad Siddique, who had recently performed and won an award at the art festival at GIKI, teamed up and took advantage of a black screen to appear shrunken; Khan using his upper body as face and hands while Siddique used his hands as feet. The duo performed to a medley of songs including ‘Eye of the Tiger’, the Superman theme, ‘I like to move it, move it’, and ‘Janam Samjha Karo’ to name a few.

Commenting on the festival, NDDS member Faizan Sohail said, “We put this show together in under two weeks and the response was mind blowing, given that these are also the final two weeks of the semester.”

He added that the evening unleashed a lot of hidden talent and was an excellent break from all the quizzes, deadlines and presentations.

The first play of the night was by the Host Team, Team NDDS, titled ‘Dafa 302’. It highlighted the desperate plights of three individuals that led them to commit murder.

Students said the hardest part of the play was the execution scene, where the character of a young boy played by Waleed Chaudhry was hanged in front of the live crowd of 400 students, as it had to be sound-boarded very carefully. Other characters were played by Kunwar Faran, Sarah Ansari, Maeedah Chishti, Zahra Nageen, Zafar Meer, Zain Khan and the warden was Saifullah Khan.

The theme of injustice was echoed again in ‘Kyun?’. The play revolved around a family that is robbed, but instead of being given justice, is conspired against, leaving the characters dead, brought to the point of insanity, or horribly mistreated. Zain Khan, Omaima Nadeem and Bakhtawar Jamil played the characters of the family.

The original scripts written by students seem to share a common theme — how little the youth believe in the country’s justice system. Though unfortunate, they aptly describe the dire situations people are faced with in reality.

The Dean and Principal of NUST Business School Dr Ashfaque Khan said, “This festival is not only a creative way to highlight some of the issues our society is facing, but also a way to come up with innovative solutions.”

Chief guest Faheem Azam, a NUST alumnus, gave a small briefing on the importance of theatre and critiqued each act, which proved both helpful and encouraging for the performing students.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2012.

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