PR Alhamra Festival concludes: Ajoka steals the show

Lahore (Qasim Ali)  Alhamra Theatre Festival concluded on Friday 29 July with a spell-binding double-bill performed by Pakistan’s leading theatre group, Ajoka. The group presented two plays before a jam-packed enthusiastic audience followed by sustained thunderous applause. The first play was a remarkable first work by Ajoka’s Art of Writing student Ummer Amin, performed by Art of Acting students. “Suicide Point” was a scathing yet entertaining satire on the hopeless conditions of life where even death has become a costly option. The play revolved around a company “Suicide Point” which offers people fed of living, an “attractive” package to end their lives. The play was ably directed by Ajoka Institute director Nirvaan Nadeem. The cast included Rai Kamran, Mian Meesam, Nyle Imtiaz, Haifa Ambreen, Shehroz, Zain ul Abideen, Muzamil Khokhar, Ibtihaj Ahmad, Hammad Yousaf, Ahmed Shaykh, Abbas Salotra, Hassan Atif, Asif Ali khan and Sohail Afgen. The second play was an adaptation of Manto’s world acclaimed short story “Toba Tek Singh” based on the events of 1947 Partition when the governments of India and Pakistan decided on an exchange of lunatics on communal grounds. The central character is a Sikh resident of z Punjab district Stovall Tek Singh and is worried about the fate of his birth town as a result of the partition of Punjab. Creatively adapted by playwright Shahid Nadeem and originally directed by late Madeeha Gauhar, it was an artistically brilliant and emotionally engaging production. The cast included M. Qaiser khan as Toba Tek Singh, Usman Zia, Fahad Hashmi, Rizwan Riaz, Shahzad Sadiq, Bilal Mughal, Luke Kelvin, Fahad Hashmi Asad Bhatti, Nasir Mehmood, Hammad Youdaf, Hassan and Mian Meesam. Ajoka Director Nirvaan Nadeem appreciated the Ajoka team for their passion and talent and congratulated the Lahore Arts Council for holding a very successful festival. He hoped that the LAC will continue to support quality meaningful theatre. LAC Executive Director Ms. Farhat Jabeen distributed the certificate to participating groups.