A review on Pakistani Rom-Drama theatre play, Heer Project (2019). This play was performed at NAPA International Theatre Festival 2019.

 

 

+ Crew

  • Written (Adapted) & Directed by Bakhtawar Mazhar & Zain Ahmed
  • Music Directed by Nigel Bobby
  • Produced by Dhanak Arts

 

 

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+ Music

  • Alan Malik
  • Khateeja Imtiaz
  • Muqaddas Saleem
  • Natasha Sharif
  • Joshua John
  • Eden Rose
  • Cynthia Rose
  • Angeli Sarfraz

 

 
+ Note

Heer Project is an adapted play of Heer Ranjha, originally written by Waris Shah in 1761. It is a famous sad, love story from the Punjab (now in Pakistan). Because its plot involves a romance opposed by family members and ends with the two lovers dying, the story is often compared to the Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet.

 

 
+ Main Cast

  1. Shabana Hassan
  2. Hajra Yamin
  3. Syed Maha Ali
  4. Bakhtawar Mazhar
  5. Mariam Saad
  6. Masooma Nadir
  7. Zashanne Malik
  8. Vaajdan Shah

 

 

  

+ Plot
This great tragedy is retold through the eyes of Heer, incorporating modern poetry as well as dance and music to retell the iconic love-tale from a feminist perspective.

 

 

 

+ High Points
i – I don’t remember praising respected Zain’s play without giving major credit to his exceptional direction. Though, this time it’s with the combined efforts of Bakhtawar Mazhar has bought new light over her directorial work. If we speak for him only, he has trained many young directors under his wing and still continue to do so.

From the storytelling to love insights of Heer; the way sudden ‘Drop Dead’ scenario takes place, it immediately hails the brilliant thinking by both the directors on this play’s treatment especially its end and the idea behind the high intellect ways of its visually design. At every major step, his trademark of extraordinary direction can be seen (in collaboration with his co-director) clearly.

ii – Handpicked by the director himself, the musicians played an important role behind the play’s success.

iii – I would love to shake hands to the person/s responsible for the dance choreography & the body gestures. Zashanne’s flexibility and Vaajdan’s agility made them look like a perfect couple dancing gracefully on-stage. Excellent work!

iv – A different take of adaptation and its concept has fruitfully executed to its perfection.

v – The script, punch lines were interestingly written… pulled the audience closer.

vi – I really liked the production design, how it was presented as. It had enough room for the musicians and spacing for the performers and dance couple to play their part easily. Good job!

vii – The makeup & hair styling department did a fantastic job on their characters.

viii – The costumes were beautifully designed, made their characters look elegant on-stage.

ix – The use of projection design was not used for reading but for presentable reasons only. As to say, part of the production design. It was a good call.

 

 

 

+ Low Points
i – Although the design of the lighting was well thought over. But the handling of it was clumsy as after the performer steps in her placement, only then the lighting was switched on. This happened many times throughout the play.

ii – Don’t get me wrong, the performances by everyone were good but... as per the performers’ names in the cast, the expectations from them were much higher.

iii – Ranjha played by Vaajdan Shah looked much older than Heer, played by Zashanne Malik, with whom he was dancing with. Perhaps a better makeover would have improved his look?

iv – Who wears joggers in dresses like these? If the shoes can be seen by the spectators (without difficulty) then they would be considered a part of the costume designing.

 

 
+ Overall

Heer Project is a modest romance, where it’s challenging new treatment including its superb direction, has made its way in being both visually and emotionally moving.

 

 
Rate: 4.50 out of 5 stars