KARACHI: He played the role of a Sufi mystic Sarmad in Ajoka Theatre’s production of Dara and though his was not a lead role, his performance was outstanding.
Usman Zia has been associated with Ajoka Theatre for the past three years and believes that art should be for arts’ sake and be promoted on those same lines. According to Zia, the youth must come forward in the field of theatre and should work honestly, “A role should be performed to perfection and one must work not for fame or money but merely for satisfaction. People should work in a systemised manner and everyone should be given a chance to perform. An actor should be born out of merit.”
Dara was staged in Karachi recently, which was Usman Zia’s first experience of performing the play in Karachi. “Karachiites are beautiful people, very liberal and eager to listen to you and to appreciate,” he says.
Currently completing his Bachelors in English Literature, from the University of Punjab, Zia said, “Acting is the only thing I know and this is my passion . This is the only work I know and I am sure I can perform. My family is religiously inclined, but I have never been told that I cannot perform in plays, in fact my family has always been there to support me.”
When asked if he had done extensive research for his role as Sarmad, the Sufi saint, he said, “No, I was told that this is not a role of an aggressive man, that I should act very calm and portray the part in the same manner.” When told that Sarmad was actually known for his outspoken nature, Usman Zia said, “Sarmad is one such role that has enough of a margin to perform in, there is certainly nothing such as a big lead role or a small role, and it depends on how the actor performs the role. For me, the character of Sarmad has a natural attraction and flair to it, and one only needs to be simple and true while acting this part. I believe there shouldn’t be anything artificial about it and only then can one outperform one’s self on stage.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2010.