Karachi Photo Blog

Saturday, February 08, 2014

'Theater in the Time of Jihad'

Partial performance of ‘Burqavaganza’, a play originally produced by the Ajoka Theatre in Pakistan [http://ajoka.org.pk/] followed by a short documentary about Ajoka’s thirty years in business, and a Q&A session with the prominent Pakistani playwright Shahid Nadeem, made up the program dubbed ‘'Theater in the Time of Jihad: A Conversation with Playwright Shahid Nadeem with Excerpts from ‘Burqavaganza’".  The event, sponsored by Stanford’s Center for South Asia and held on Friday, February 7, at the Roble Hall Theatre of the Stanford University, was attended by over sixty people.

MC Burqa Bibi: Pamela Rosin
Haseena: Radhika Rao
Khoobroo: Amit Sharma
Mulla 1: Abhishek Das
Mulla 2: Nandini Minocha
Police Officer: Molly Shaiken
Hijab Hashmi: Pamela Rosin
Burqa Brigade Commander: Mariam Saeed
Burqa Bin Batin, world’s most wanted terrorist: Omar Sahak
Minister for Burqa Affairs: Omar Sahak
Chambelli, the hijra (transexual): Rann Shinar

Good directors don’t feel constrained by the written play.  Brilliant directors-- in the interest of jazzing up the play--feel free to make changes to the write-up.  And that was exactly what director Vidhu Singh did with the latest performance of Burqavaganza.  Remember the fake sign language interpreter at Mandela’s funeral?  Many were enraged because whatever hand gestures that charlatan made did not have any meaning in the official sign language.  But for others the fake interpreter’s act was pure entertainment; they were amused by his fakery—no matter how somber a speech, that conman could come up with random hand gestures that appeared to go well with the words.  Obviously inspired by the impostor at the Mandela funeral, Vidhu added a sign interpreter to the speech delivered by the Chief Minister of Burqa Affairs in one segment of Burqavaganza.  Imagine a serious speech given on piety and the need to avoid sex and other immoral acts, and imagine the speech being sign-interpreted by a burqa-clad hijra!  The act was hilarious and definitely the most entertaining part of the show.

An audio of Shahid Nadeem of Ajoka Theater at Stanford, and a Q&A session with Audrey Truschke is here:

See the program description and information about the playwright here:


At Mon Feb 10, 07:46:00 PM PST, Blogger iFaqeer said...

Isn't the right word above "Players" or "Cast of Characters" rather than "cast", which is usually (especially in the age of Hollywood) more a descriptions of who the people playing the characters are?

At Tue Feb 11, 12:08:00 AM PST, Blogger Cemendtaur said...

The post was not complete then. Does it read better now?


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