Theatre Plays

Mr. Khan’s Review on Dead End (2019)

A review on Black Comedy-Drama theatre play, Dead End (2019). Its Production is by Syna Productions.

 

 

+ Crew

  • Production Design, Written (Adapted) & Directed by Sunil Shanker
  • Makeup & Hair Stylist by Sikander
  • Costume Design by Cherries
  • Sound Mixing by N/A
  • Lighting by Masood-ur-Rehman

 

 

+ Note
Dead End is an adapted play, originally written by David Mamet, Glengarry Glenn Ross (1983). It won a Pulitzer Prize in 1984. He also wrote its screenplay for the same name film in 1992. It starred ‘A’ graded star-actors, such as Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon and Kevin Spacey. This play revolves around real estate agents who are trying to survive in a brutal and competitive market. The salesmen work at a real estate company called Dream Ambassadors, selling property. This is a crucial month and whoever makes the most sales will win a new car. The competition is on but events take a dramatic turn.

Sunil Shankar happens to be in one of the promising actors of this play as well. In his career as a director, he has executed a number of plays in brilliant fashion, such as Equus (2017), Qusoorwar (2016), Playlist (2019) and Chup (2017).

An important role was specifically written in the film for Alec Baldwin as the character Blake, who is sent by the real estate owners to ‘Motivate’ their salesmen. This is one of the best scenes of the film adaptation. However, Dead End is an adaptation of the original written play only.

+ Full Cast

  1. Saad Zameer Fareedi as Darioos Ghaaswala
  2. Ali Junejo as Malik Rohaan / Ronny
  3. Usman Javed as John Calderia
  4. Sunil Shanker as Baber Daud
  5. Samhan Ghazi as Ghreeb Nawaz
  6. Amir Naqvi as Dr. Taimor Mirza
  7. Ejaz-ul-Haq as Inspector Imran

 

 

  

+ Plot
A group of four salesmen are working some the same real estate company, whereas three of them are struggling hard to make big sales or be fired. In such desperate times, a robbery takes place.

 

+ High Points
i – Superb direction by Sunil Shanker. His brilliant plays, one after the another has definitely made me a true fan of his work. There a number of interesting scenes throughout the play. But the most interesting one for me would be of Daud & Nawaz share. It was an insight towards the play’s main plot and a study on salesmen’s human behavior when being cornered. There is no doubt that Sunil is one of the best directors of theatre world. I don’t think that I could ever think of missing any of his plays in near future too.

ii – Once again, a spectacular performance by Ali Hasan Junejo as Malik Rohan. Previously, I have watched perform in Equus and Qusoorwar. In this too, Ali has exceeded everyone expectations on playing a loud mouth, hard talking, smart salesman who uses his quick thinking, to win client’s trust by his charismatic personality to make the sale. A very good choice by the director to choose Ali for this role.

iii – Samhan Ghazi has improved a lot in the last 2 – 3 years. He has constantly worked hard to come to the limelight and has able to grab audience attention with realistic performances. This would be Samhan’s one of his memorable performances to date.

iv – Although, I am a big fan of the film, but I believe that a good effort is been made on its adaptation for this play. It’s the first I have seen in Urdu language, which is very close to original material. The entire play is about the power shifts of the main characters while making sales to undesired, unwilling people. Some of these characters’ powers remain the same till the end while some powers shift back and forth. Only a great writer could understand it properly.

v – Only a great actor like Saad Zameer Fareedi could have pulled it off splendidly as Darioos Ghaaswala. This role was no easy task, needed an actor who could show his character’s ups & downs throughout this two-act play. Saad’s great understanding of the role, had made him to perform it perfectly. Other Honorable Mentions: Sunil Shankar.

vi – A very decent production design was constructed, where three different scenarios are shared on the stage with ease.

 

 

+ Low Points
i – There were some of the performances which were disappointing. Either these actors didn’t understand their characters well or took a new interpretation, away from the original script. The performance by Usman who played the manager position, his acting seemed too stiff, expressionless. I understand that his character is cold & heartless but where a veteran actor as Kevin Spacey performed amazing on-screen, however as for the play, Usman fails to do so. Another performance I felt was weak, was of Amir. His character needed to be played as nervous, unsure character who is unable to stand up against his dominating wife. But in this play, he is shown be much more peaceful and relaxed character. For example, when he walks-in to Ronny’s office, Amir walks so calmly as though have nothing on his mind that is troubling him. I mean, we all know why he is here for. Then what’s the purpose for his calmness?

ii – The first scene of the play, which Usman & Saad have shared. I believe it was a bit longer than required. The message was crystal clear and so was Ghaaswala’s weak situation. For him to give in to John’s every greedy want had became predictable.

iii – Repeated vulgar, toilet dialogues were though intentionally spoken as written in the original content, were hilarious for some time only. But then soon, it was no longer funny or sad to hear it any more. Such words as ‘Crap’ or ‘Shit’ should had remained in English language (even if the play is in Urdu).

 

 

+ Overall
David Mamet’s play takes a new height of success when it is adapted by another genius and names it Dead End.

 

 

Rate: 3.50 out of 5

 

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