National Academy of Performing Arts’ (Napa) International Theatre & Music Festival was on full-tilt on Sunday, with back-to-back performances. The day opened with a 30 minute-long sketch directed by Zia Mohyeddin titled Turram Ka Makaan, followed by The Charmed Ring, which was the main event of the day.
The Charmed Ring follows the story of a boy Sheheryar (Kashif Hussain) who saves three different animals — a cat, a dog and a snake — from angry villagers. As a token of gratitude, the snake’s father presents Sheheryar with a charmed ring that will grant his wishes.
Upon receiving the ring, Sheheryar wishes for a house and the girl of his dreams (Erum Bashir). With his wishes being granted, all seems to be going well for him until he loses his ring, causing his life to fall apart. Unable to cope with their master’s sadness, the dog and the cat embark on a journey to recover the ring from an evil sorceress (Sonia Ashraf).
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Unlike majority of the performances that are part of the play bill for the current edition of the International Theatre & Music Festival, The Charmed Ring was based on a folk tale. Speaking to The Express Tribune following the completion of the performance, director Kashif Hussain said, “The reason why I am keen on exploring themes of fantasy and magic is because portraying them on stage is an experiment in itself.”
Hussain, who is known for incorporating choreography and movement in his plays, also remarked how, unlike in his previous plays, the cast had improvised a lot this time around. This facet was on display mostly during Fawad Khan’s narration, as the actor switched between different characters such as that of a fish, an angry villager and Sheheryar’s father with effortless ease, to loud applauses from the crowd.
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Co-directed by American director Laquetta Carpenter, the play features an ensemble cast including Kashif Hussain, Sunil Shankar, Fawad Khan, Masood ur Rehman, Aqeel Ahmed, Haris Khan, Joshinder Chaggar, Erum Bashir, Maha Ali, Sonia Ashraf and Najma Kifayat.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 29th, 2016.
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