Picture this: In the restricted confines of The Second Floor (T2F), two boys are enacting the suicide scene from Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet starrer Titanic. Jack delivers the dialogues as they were in the movie, whereas Rose does not have a script and needs to use her imagination to do the job perfectly. The first sentence she utters, when she is requested to not jump off the ship, is that she needs some space to urinate. And from that point onwards, the entire skit revolved around urination and toilet humour.
This was the one year anniversary of the acting troupe of The Acting Wheel — which is a brainchild of Nausheen Ishtiaq along with co-founders Khurram Sulaiman and Qutub Malla — celebrated at T2F on February 23. According to the co-founders, the venture was started to provide a platform for “people who love acting for sake of acting”.
The amateur actors of The Acting Wheel however didn’t seem to have an idea of the kind of opportunity this stage is giving them. Much to the chagrin of the audience, the overall performance was a concoction of amateur acting and inappropriate jokes. While many got a laugh, some of the jests were over the top and made one cringe.
When one expressed displeasure over the low quality of jokes, the co-founder Malla justifies the selection by saying, “Well, they made people laugh out loud and earlier on, we had Pathan jokes in abundance and people enjoyed those too.”
For Ishtiaq, improv comedy is what “goes where the crowd takes it. We give them the freedom to act and speak their mind and the actors know the thin line between humour and offense and they have been trained to stop when things get out of hand.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 25th, 2012.