Dozens of people were huddled together excitedly in the basement studio of the newly inaugurated Knowledge Factory, to enjoy the venue’s first open mic night.
Open mic night in Lahore has been organised in the past by talent agency Origami and the Guitar School. Now the Knowledge Factory, launched by tv personality Ayesha Alam Khan, in partnership with Pir Omer Shah and Saad Tariq, is the latest agency to take the initiative for encouraging amateurs to perform. The place is a unique platform for individuals to explore their interests through workshops and educational classes.
Khan, who herself has been closely associated entertainment industry and has had a long career in performing arts, understands the benefits of holding regular open mic nights.
“There a lot of artists out there with amazing potential and talent,” comments Khan. “Knowledge Factory wants to be a launching pad for these artists.”
The latest Open mic night featured a diversity of theatrical acts and acoustic musical performances.
A very unique routine featured a band of family members, creating melodies with every day household items such as plastic water bottles and small household appliances. The intricacy and coordination of their percussion performance won many accolades from the effervescent crowd.
“It’s funny that we are being called a band,” said Shan Tahir. “It’s something we have always done at home with the family. In fact this was our first live performance in front of an audience.”
Next Ian Eldred and Salman Naseer’s hilarious dramatic performance on a script adapted by the dialogue, “Why can’t women think like men”, from Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, left the audience in fits.
The duo had collaborated with an upcoming English playwright Saad Sultan, the president of the World Theatre Federation, to write the script. Sultan, present at the event, revealed cheekily that the delivered dialogue was actually a heavily edited version of his original script.
But the duo were happy with their delivery of the altered script.
“The content we had presented was received really well by the audience,” Eldred commented after his performance. His partner Naseer expressed his satisfaction over the fact that the night had not simply turned into another boring karaoke night and in fact was actually a meaningful exhibition of talent.
Subsequently Rahim Khan, the well-regarded Pashto singer, passionately sung “Lamhe” and “Khumar” with poignance and fervour, causing the thrilled audience to break into a frenzy of coordinated claps.
The last act was a performance by Quandrum, which produced the vibrant sound of tribal drums. The act – an amalgam of contrasting beats – expressed carefree energy and positivity. The talented band, which has quickly become a mainstream sensation overnight, wowed audiences.
Quandrum’s Saad Sarfraz enthusiastically approved of the event. “They’re no barriers for entry at this event, which is great. There should be more platforms like these,” he said.
The open mic night turned out to be a hit with the audiences. Such light-hearted and creative entertainment offers a very welcome respite for the population in such politically troubled times.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 6th, 2011.