To ease the load of daunting research papers, looming deadlines and final presentations, IBA’s Dramatics Society yet again organized the Intra-IBA theatre competition titled, ‘The Fringe’ from 11th to 13th December, 2017. The event allowed the students to express themselves and their stories through the centuries old art of acting.
Fourteen teams registered for the event, with stories ranging from comedies to spoofs to murder mysteries. Competing for cash prizes of up to 50,000/-, the teams weren’t given any restrictions other than the time limit of 25 minutes, which ensured that they produced the best theatrical works possible. As the students unleashed their inner skills as actors, directors and dancers, the audience was left awestruck.
The event was judged by theatre actors Hamza Tariq, Mohammad Ali Hashmi and Amtul Baweja, while the chief guests included Shahroz Sabzwari and Feroze Khan. The judging criteria included a nuanced script, audibility of the actors, details of direction and the acting itself. Since every team was critiqued by the judges, right after their plays, this became a learning experience which will help everyone improve upon their work.
The Fringe started off with light hearted plays like Nausikhyay, written by Iqra Asim. The play was about a berated director, who wants to remake Sholay. However, he ends up in a comedy spoof with nausikhyay (untrained) actors trying to play each other’s parts. The intense story of Nashayi (Drug Addict) left the audience anticipating the love story between the struggling writer and his beloved. The story took a tragic turn when the girl’s mother flees with the girl, leaving the boy reaching out to drugs. Kefiyat (Condition) was about four prisoners and their stories of how they all got arrested. All the prisoners were shown in poor mental health. Kefiyat had the most dramatic moment in the last scene when all the stories came together, made all the more forceful with loud music and red lights. Breaking away from more typical theatre, Behind Closed Doors directed by Balach Chandio, stood out as being the only pantomime performance. The play was about a girl trying to seek acceptance from her friends, her family and society, while haunted by her inner conflicts.
Like last year with Buri Aurat, the writer/director Hurmat Kazmi, brought everyone to the edge of their seats with his amazing performance as an actor this time. Madari, written and directed by Hurmat Kazmi was the life story of an intersex child, who is abandoned by the parents, right after being born. A mad woman (played by Madiha Madad), finds and adopts the child as her ‘son.’ The son, in search of his identity, goes for education, spirituality and religion, but gets emotionally and sexually abused at all stages, for being who he is, and for suppressing his inner female self (played by Maliha Sohail). With loud dramatic soundtracks and perfect lighting, the play reached “perfection,” commented Ali Hashmi. The play started with a trigger warning, and followed a series of dramatic scenes of the dhamaal at Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s shrine, manic episodes, and finally the suicide. The play got standing ovations after every scene.
The closing ceremony was held on the third day, with prize distributions. Hurmat Kazmi and team bagged the title of ‘Fringe Champions’ for the second time, while Wamiq Kaleem won the best supporting actor. The best play went to Kefiyat, directed by Munazza Alavi, who also received the best supporting actress award. Best script was received by Nashayi, while the best moment award went to the pantomime performance of Behind Closed Doors. The ceremony ended with mesmerizing Qawwali by Sabri Brothers, and a concert by Abdullah Qureshi, with his much-loved Sufi medley.
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