Young Directors Festival comes of age

Published: January 11, 2017
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Napa has been actively organising various theater festivals since 2012. PHOTO:FILE

Napa has been actively organising various theater festivals since 2012. PHOTO:FILE

KARACHI  : National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa) Young Directors’ Theatre and Music Showcase 2017 is set to commence on January 13. The 10-day festival will see 12 plays and two days of music performances.

The plays will be helmed by 12 emerging directors, all of whom have graduated from the performing arts institute within the last four years. Moreover, the plays will not only be in Urdu, but Punjabi, Sindhi and Memoni as well.

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Speaking at a press conference, Napa director for programmes and administration Arshad Mehmood said, “We have organised this festival to keep the young directors in practice and showcase their work to the local theatre audience. We think it is important that as the graduates branch out into media, they don’t lose touch of what they’ve learnt.”

Napa’s artistic director Zain Ahmed said, “Starting with the Napa Performing Arts Festival in 2012, NAPA has staged a number of festivals to create performance opportunities for young artists in Karachi. This festival is an extension of that idea.”

The plays include two Shakespeare adaptations and some original Pakistani plays written by the likes of Sarmad Sehbai (Dark Room). Actor/director Vajdaan Shah will direct Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra, which revolves around the Roman Empire. He said, “I was fascinated by this play because it’s not just set in a room like other stories. It takes us back to the Roman Empire. I chose this play because theatre plays reflect the socio-political environment of a particular era, which in this case was eerily similar to ours today.”

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Other plays belong to a variety of genres, including comedy, romantic sagas and political thrillers. The list includes Saari Raat (directed by Maha Ali), Bye Mishtake (Masoor ur Rehman), Chullah (Kaleem Ghouri), Spy Game (Ubaid Iqbal), Raat (Shumaila Taj), Dark Room (Maqbool Ahmed), Heer Ranjha (Zarqa Naz), Aik Biwi Ka Sawal Hai Baba (Aqeel Ahmed), Izhar e Ishq (Taha Khan), Latri Jo Laftro (Faraz Chhotani) and Hamlet (Zakiullah Khan).

Napa faculty member Akbar Islam had earlier spoken about the plays being staged in other vernacular languages, “A lot of people wanted to do the plays in their mother tongue so we are going ahead with it.” He added that the audience shouldn’t have problems understanding them because our languages are quite similar. “And then, we have treated our plays in such a way that people can easily understand them.”

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Furthermore, the last two days of the festival will see music performances by young artists. “The first day will see musicians from Napa and elsewhere perform classical music and the second day will see them perform contemporary genres such as jazz, pop and blues,” said Ahmed.

On other hand, Napa has also established a basement theatre which will open to the public for the first time during the festival. The ticket price for the main theatre hall is Rs500, while for the basement hall, it is Rs300. Additionally, ticket price for students is Rs300 for both theatre and music performances.

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