A review on Pakistani Comic theatre play, ‘Tarzan’ (2016). The project head is Daniah Naz while production assistant is Ahmad Baig. Its asst. directed by Urooj Alfred.
- Directed by Rauf Afridi
- Written by Unaiza Ali
- Set Designer is Javed Yusuf
- Backstage Manager is Taha Nadeem
- Lights & Costumes Designer is Uzma Sabeen
Tarzan is a lost human infant who lived and grew up to be a strong, brave man with a pack of gorillas in the heart of the jungle. Originally created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan first appeared in the novel Tarzan of the Apes (magazine publication 1912, book publication 1914), and afterwards in twenty-five sequels, several official books by other authors, and countless works in other media, both authorized and unauthorized.
+ Full Cast:
- Haris Khan as Tarzan
- Ahmer Hussain as Modi / Lion
- Rauf Afridi as Manku
- Najma Kifayat as Gudgudi Jadugarni / Lioness / News Caster #1
- Hammad Khan as Jin
- Faryal Memon as Jane / Ms. Duck
- Saddam Hussain as Jungli / News Caster #2
- Unaiza Ali as Story Teller
Tarzan’s desperate help is needed in able to stop new threats to the kingdom of jungle that is Jin & Gudgudi Jadugarni who are responsible in kidnapping and eating the animals. Once Tarzan starts to investigate with his friend Manku, they come to realize who the real mastermind behind this mischief scheme.
+ High Points
i – Amazing performance by Hammad Khan as Jin. This performer demonstrates you how ‘Easy’ it is to perform on-stage (although it is not). In his previous play ‘Qissa Sotay Jaagtay Ka’, there also he performed brilliantly and here too, he clearly showed everyone that he is no less of a Great Performer. His consistent terrific performances had let the audience know well that (if not now but perhaps) very soon he would be given the lead character roles where the audience would be desperately waiting to see him perform.
ii – Rauf Afridi as Manku played the main supporting role superbly. His acting skills show you as to why the level of his performances is so good! After this performance, I feel the urge to see him more on-stage plays. Other Honorable Mentions: Ahmer Hussain and Najma Kifayat.
iii – The play started out well, while placing different animals within the audience or far from the stage and make small interactions with the children. This was continued throughout the play where the performers challenged or asked to the audience for their next move or to look for someone. This was a good decision by writer and director alike. Good Job!
iv – The flexibility, agility of the lead actor Haris Khan with his fitness and good performance clearly showed as to why he was chosen to play the role of ‘Tarzan’.
v – The art direction of the stage is definitely a high point to be mentioned here.
vi – The costumes of the characters were well made.
vii – By naming the villain as ‘Modi’, was a good humor for adults. And as for the children, the names as ‘Jin’ and ‘Gudgudi Jadugarni’ were perfect.
+ Low Points
i – Since this play surrounds the character Tarzan, then many of animals during the performance could had appeared or played a small role in it. I was actually expecting to see some if not many. Only couple of animals was shown during the play such as duck and lion. The team behind this play would probably defend themselves by saying ‘Well, the plot was based on Missing Animals’. Yes but this is the jungle where Many and Different types of animals live. And for children happiness at least, show some animals on stage (during the performance) to remind us that this is a jungle and not Karachi Zoo that we are looking at.
ii – If this play was a proper musical one, with several of songs & dances presented in it. I am pretty confident that this play would have met a much higher level of success.
iii – The character of ‘Modi’ was not fascinating enough as it was for the characters of ‘Jin’ and ‘Gudgudi Jadugarni’. These two characters had some special ability linked with them. Example: Jin had ability to become invisible on his will, Gudgudi Jadugarni had ability of using dark magic while Modi had ability to be strong enough to wrestle with Tarzan and had a very sharp, cunning mind. The character of Modi could have improved if he was given some special ability / power like other two villains.
iv – The characters of ‘Jungli’ and ‘Jane’ were mediocre written. The performers did not have much to perform.
v – My advise to the writer is to avoid using racial remarks / humor. Someone from the audience or media would surely be offended by it.
vi – Honestly I didn’t find the story of this play to be motivating to watch. I can understand that it was kept simple for children but even then the story didn’t pull the audience towards it. It was actual the basic theme behind this play that is ‘Tarzan living in the jungle and helping animals’.
vii – Since this play’s story differ almost entirely from the origin then a new title should be given instead of just ‘Tarzan’. Such as ‘Tarzan: Return of Modi’ or ‘Tarzan: Save the Missing Animals’ etc.
viii – The brochure and the poster of this play ‘Tarzan’ shows multiple animals on it such as crocodile, monkey, snake, owl etc. Kindly tell me, how many of these animals appeared during the play? How many of them? Perhaps two or three… Why other animals were not shown or performed in the play? Point to be noted here that this is a children’s play. Your target audience is children and then the adults / parents come. So, when you are marketing / advertising your play in print or digital media, show the same characters in the play as well.
The reason is that the children would be expecting them to be part of the play. Yes, it is a BIG Deal for the children. My suggestion is that show those characters in your product advertisement only which appear and perform in the play too. Example: Jin, Manku, Ms. Duck etc.
A sentimental tale which lacked many animal appearances and good humor. Still, Tarzan has talented cast to charm.
Rate: 3.25 out of 5 stars