As the International Theatre Festival was drawn to a close, the National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa) chose to further its legacy with the Theatre & Music Series. The chain of performing arts showcases, which is being organised in collaboration with the I Am Karachi initiative, kicked off on Thursday night. The theme of the event revolves around the city of lights and will feature theatre and musical performances throughout May.
According to Zain Ahmed, artistic director of Napa Repertory Theatre, “The main reason for organising the event is to provide young directors and musicians with the opportunity to showcase their work. We want to start telling our own stories and go beyond adaptations and translations.”
The event is not a festival but a series of performances. “We haven’t designed it like a festival as we want to make this a series, where we can provide the young performers with a second step,” said Ahmed. “All these performers get the chance to perform in front of audiences at other festivals but the opportunities following that are limited,” he added.
The organisers availed the opportunity to respond to those who have accused Napa of overdoing adaptations of foreign language plays instead of those of local ones and not producing original plays. Arshad Mehmud, senior faculty member at Napa, said they’re unable to do adaptations of local plays due to lack of quality dramas in Urdu literature. He expressed their wish to do more original plays, which are reflective of today’s society.
The music series will commence after the theatre ends. Nafees Ahmed, head of music department at Napa, also revealed that they will have an open call for auditions for young musicians throughout the city. “Having become a little quality-conscious, we will make sure that the blend of music that we present is easy on the ears,” he said.
I Am Karachi Theatre & Music Series has already showcased Al Farishta by Dramatees. The rest of their plays include Madya not Media by Zahrss, Slaver, Aaj ki Taaza Qabr/Khabar by Green Veins and Jaloos by Free Souls.
After performing for four days at Napa, the series will be held at multiple venues, including the Pakistan American Cultural Centre and Pakistan Institute of International Affairs. Apart from the performances, Napa also plans on conducting a short playwriting workshop to help aspiring writers develop their writing skills. Napa had also announced a Framji Minwalla Playwriting Award, the deadline for which is September 1, 2015.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2015.