From the Bottom of My Art: Societal norms made fun of in Urdu satirical play

Two-hour-long performance revolves around a woman’s thought process

Mariam Shafqat October 25, 2016
Two-hour-long performance revolves around a woman’s thought process. PHOTOS: EXPRESS

LAHORE: Since her father’s death, Jannat loses all motivation towards her art and goes through a depressive phase. A two-hour long play staged at Alhamra Arts council revolved around the lead character ‘Jannat’ and her struggles in life.

‘From the Bottom of My Art’ – an Urdu satirical comedy play — being performed since October 21, is directed by DramaEd’s Shah Fahad, while written and co-written by Ali Ahmed and Bilal Asif.

“DramaEd has been producing theatre for the last six years and the on-going play is their theatrical venture,” Shah said adding that ‘From the Bottom of my Art’ was essentially a satirical comedy played out by a team of 19 actors, about artists who had been working on their projects in an art studio called ‘Studio MG’.

The story line followed the perspective of its lead character ‘Jannat’. She finds herself listening to absurd rants and discussions of other artists at the studio.  Not very interested in continuing art, but being in the company of artists, she is tries to muster up the motivation to start learning again. A series of errors during the last few days of a residency in the studio leads to the exhibition. Jannat follows her heart and searches for answers to her dilemma, with some help through the voices within.

“In the play, some of the paintings speak out, portraying the thought process of the protagonist, Jannat,” Shah added.

“On the one hand, there is an actual scenario going on, while on the other, her thoughts are being acted out as well,” he added.

“The play does not primarily focus on giving social messages but since its satire, it ended up making fun of things we see in the society and media.”

“In the play, one of the characters is a painting created by the artist, that shows a zombie watching television,” Shah said. “The scene makes fun of how media or anchor persons usually behave”, he explained.

The story line also pokes fun at how our society believes that women should remain confined in their defined roles. “One of the paintings reminds Jannat that she is a woman and has to do the same stereotypical things other women are expected to do,” he added.

The fifth and last show of ‘From the Bottom of my Art” will be staged at Alhmara, the Mall on October 26.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 26th, 2016.


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