It’s the animal instinct

Published: June 19, 2010
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Bill Manoff’s The Owl and the Pussycat was staged in Karachi.

Bill Manoff’s The Owl and the Pussycat was staged in Karachi.

KARACHI: The Owl and the Pussycat has been brought to Karachi by What If Productions and opened on June 17 for a four-day run at the Arts Council in Karachi.

The play was directed by recent National Academy of Performing Arts graduate Fawad Khan who also played the role of Fred Solomon, a writer living in London. Solomon has the qualities of a wise owl, solitary and nocturnal who writes during the late night hours.

Solomon is hard at work at two in the morning when he is interrupted by Chandramukhi, played by Fizza Zehra, who comes dashing into his apartment. Chandramukhi is an actor- come-model in the play and is shown to be the opposite of Solomon having the instincts of a playful cat.

Chandramukhi has been thrown out of her apartment in the middle of the night because of Fred’s report to her landlord. She now has nowhere to go and is adamant that she will stay the night at Solomon’s apartment as he is the reason for her rude eviction. This makes for an interesting night as the two characters clash and refuse to compromise with each other, Chandramukhi displays childish thinking by stating she cannot sleep on the sofa and playing loud music to put herself to sleep and simultaneously disturb Solomon.

However, Solomon’s lack of reaction spoils her fun so she begins to pester him by calling him Fink, a name which he detests. But the saying that ‘opposites attract’ holds true and midway through the story, Solomon and Chandramukhi realise the magnetism which exists between them.

Both the actors must be commended for their performances but Khan’s portrayal of the owl stood out. However, still more is expected from a Napa graduate and Khan could have put more life into his presentation and dialogues. Fizza Zehra is reportedly acting for a local television production, and could have moulded herself to her role better as she did not portray the light-heartedness expected from her character and at times seemed intense and serious.

Nevertheless the play was a treat for theatre lovers and held the audiences’ attention for the duration of the play. It would have been better had the Karachi Electric Supply Company not toyed with the electricity during the play as this definitely was a pain for the cast as well as for the audience.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 20th, 2010.

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