Theatre Plays

Mr. Khan’s Review on Jaloos (2017)

A review on Pakistani Comedy (satire) theatre play, Jaloos (2017). It was performed at NAPA’s International Theatre Festival 2017.




+ Crew

  • Directed, written (Adapted) & set design by Hassan Raza






+ Note
Jaloos deals with the problems in society which we are facing with but do not want to or cannot change.

This play is inspired by Badal Sarkar’s short story.




+ Full Cast

  1. Vajdaan Shah as Security Officer
  2. Hammad Siddiq as Munna (Former)
  3. Moiz Qadeer as Munna
  4. Kamal Hussain as Peer Sahib
  5. Haris Khan as Chorus #1
  6. Syed Jameel as Chorus #2
  7. Umair Rafiq as Chorus #3
  8. Hassan Khan as Chorus #4
  9. Shahjahan Narejo as Chorus #5
  10. Ghulam Murtaza as Chorus #6
  11. Aisha Iqbal as Chorus #7
  12. Sana Hussain as Chorus #8






+ Plot
It represents those people in society who are downtrodden, suffering, who do not get justice and are ignored by society.





+ High Points
i – Haris Khan plays comic roles in best way possible. He is a great performer with highly skilled acting chops. His handshake with Peer Sahib was one of the most iconic scenes of this play.

ii – Vajdaan Shah performance as Security Officer is strictly performed in realistic manner. Other Honorable Mentions: Kamal Hussain, Syed Jameel, Hassan Khan and Umair Rafiq.

iii – Hassan Raza did a fantastic job in directing this delicate play. One needs a lot of guts to pull this off in such enjoyable comic manner without taking it seriously* (in terms of getting highly offended by it).

iv – The satire humor was touched on hyper sensitive multiple issues which are too taboo to be discussed among close friends even, were very bravely performed.

v – The set design was brightly color-filled constructed.

vi – The live song was sung elegantly.

vii – The screenplay was engaging while the Peer Sahib character was the most appealing.





+ Low Points
i – This play is strictly for a selected audience only. The possibility is likely high for receiving extremely negative reactions, if it is shown to the mass audience.

ii – Both Munna scenes were slow and dragged. Munna character reminded me of ‘Kenny’ from South Park cartoon series.





+ Overall
Jaloos is a play with funny humor which was bravely performed and touched on many sensitive issues in satire mayhem.



Rate: 4.0 out of 5 stars


Theatre Plays

Mr. Khan’s Review on Baaztab (2017)

A review on Pakistani drama theatre play, Baaztab (2017). It was performed at NAPA’s International Theatre Festival 2017.




+ Crew

  • Directed by Farhan Alam
  • Written by Shumaila Taj






+ Note
Baaztab is based on the system of injustice and the collision of the institutions of state with the media and elite of the country are the central focus of the play that seeks a change in this unjust system.

It focuses on personality disorder while it shows how it affects that person and the people who are closer.


+ Full Cast

  1. Naz as Sabah / Rameen
  2. Zain Nazar as Rafaay
  3. Muhammad Sambhan Ghazi as M. Ali
  4. Naveed Kamal as Aslam
  5. Shumaila Taj as Dr. Zara
  6. Shazia Ahmed as Salma
  7. Tehreem Shafiq as Rabia





+ Plot
An elder daughter, Rameen who develops a split personality disorder is due to the death of her late father in a riot at Karachi and her mother’s second marriage to a man who has very traditional patriarchal views on the role of women in society.



+ High Points
i – Naz’s performance as wife with a care free personae living inside her is much admired by the audience. She never delivers less than expectations. Truly a terrific actress!

ii – Naveed Kamal as a religious traditional step father played his part brilliantly. He is an underrated actor that needs to be presented in lime light as much as possible. Other Honorable Mentions: Zain Nazar.

iii – The elevator scene was well directed.



+ Low Points
i – The scenes where Ali and Rameen share seemed unconvincing and weak.

ii – The performers were too limited in their movements. As though the blocking of was restricted to be taken one step only. Such as when Rameen is presented with her family in a scene, they stood (almost still) like shooting ducks / gallery.

iii – There were times when the actors were too quick to deliver their lines instead of focusing on their pauses (according to its beat).

iv – The scenes shifting could be taken place with proper switching of the filtered lights, for the audience ease to understand.

v – The character Rabia was faintly written while the performance of Shazia Ahmed was the weakest.

vi – How Rameen gets away from murder? Only to be ended up with a doctor? Did the police / her family ever find out what she did?



+ Overall
Baaztab has at least the prospective to produce into something healthier. But it might not be worth that second look if not for few performers especially by Naz.


Rate: 2.50 out of 5 stars


Theatre Plays

Mr. Khan’s Review on Proof (2017)

A review on Pakistani Drama theatre play, Proof (2017). It was performed at NAPA’s International Theatre Festival 2017.





+ Crew

  • Directed & Set Design by Laquetta Carpenter
  • Written by David Auburn






+ Note
A mathematical genius and his daughter relationship is both strained and necessary, while the discovery of a `Paradigm-Shifting Proof` about prime numbers authenticity is being challenged.




+ Full Cast

  1. Shabana Hassan as Catherine
  2. Kashif Hussain as Hal
  3. Sonia Ashraf as Claire
  4. Owais Mangalwala as Robert







+ Plot
It is about Catherine, the daughter of Robert who was great Mathematician teacher & professor at the University of Chicago. After his death, Hall (his young assistant) discovers a paradigm-shifting proof about prime numbers in Robert’s journal. But the question still remains that who is its real author?





+ High Points
i – Shabana Hassan as Catherine, played the role to its perfection. This is her best performance up till now.

ii – Kashif Hussain as Hal as the love interest of Catherine in most suitable way. Kashif is a wonderful actor where he is usually given demanding roles to play. Other Honorable Mentions: Rest of the cast.

iii – The direction in this play was very difficult as every scene was shown in great detail.

iv – The script writing was remarkably written. Bravo!






+ Low Points
i – The flashback scenes regarding her relationship with her father, those could be played out properly with switching of filtered lights or different placements of the props to indicate it is basically a flash back. Sometimes it was hard to tell whether it was a flashback scene or she is talking to her father’s spirit.

ii – The conversation scenes were in great detail which took certain time in gaining interest.

iii – In end of the scenes, the second exit appears out of nowhere.  The audience was surprised to see that performer was leaving from the other side instead (where there was no exit door). The director could have showed it at least once in the starting or mid of the play.

iv – The set could have further improved with more props / side railing to show it as porch.




+ Overall
Laquetta and David gave their best by combining smart dialogues with impressive acting that lead Proof to be entertaining play of the romantic-drama genre.



Rate: 4.0 out of 5 stars


Theatre Plays

Mr. Khan’s Review on Tasadum (2017)

A review on Pakistani Drama theatre play, Tasadum (2017). It was performed at NAPA’s International Theatre Festival 2017.




+ Crew

  • Directed by Akber Islam
  • Written by Imran Aslam






+ Note
Imran Aslam’s burning socialist ideas are embedded with extremely crisp satirical dialogue.




+ Full Cast

  1. IR Omer as Azeem
  2. Taha Khan as Chi
  3. Hamza Sheikh as Meer
  4. Aqeel Ahmed as Tota
  5. Naveed Kamal as Qasmi
  6. Shumaila Taj as Azeem’s Mom
  7. Faraz Sheikh as Jameel
  8. Naz as Meer’s Mom





+ Plot
It is about conflicts between two different schools of thought, two ideologies, two generations; conflict between religion and nature.






+ High Points
i – Aqeel Ahmed as Tota unleashes his theatrical bravado. Although a small role but he’s hilarious.

ii – IR Omer invests his efforts as idealist-traction in properly understanding the character. He was a good choice as Azeem. Other Honorable Mentions: Naveed Kamal.

iii – Well, well… I was definitely surprised by its ending. Good call!





+ Low Points
i – We were unable to see in-depth character personalities of Chi and Tota.

ii – I felt that the time length was less of the play. It should be 20 – 30 minutes more.

iii – There was no strong supporting role character. Since the main characters had different thoughts on life, hence no one really supported each other’s views.





+ Overall
Similar to Dark Room, Tasadum is an interesting play based on ground reality.


Rate: 3.25 out of 5 stars


Theatre Plays

Mr. Khan’s Review on Hamlet (2017)

A review on William Shakespeare’s foreign-language Drama theatre play, Hamlet (2017). It was performed at NAPA’s International Theatre Festival 2017.





+ Crew

  • Directed by Gregory Thompson
  • Directed by Bimal Subedi
  • Light Designed by Jibesh Rayamajhi
  • Translation by Shristi Bhattarai & Jeebesh Rayamajhi






+ Note
Hamlet is a Nepali play, performed in their local language. For our audience, this play had arranged English subtitles.

In 2001 the Nepali Crown Prince and the rest of the Nepali Royal family lay dead in the palace compound opposite Theatre Village in Kathmandu; violent regime changed. Shakespeare’s recurrent theme is a living memory in Nepal.



+ Full Cast

  1. Dilip Ranabhat
  2. Romi Khadgi
  3. Sandesh Shakya
  4. Asha Bandhari
  5. Nawaraj Parajulli
  6. Bholaraj Sapkota
  7. Parajit Bansyal
  8. Deepak Sapkota
  9. Sajan Thapa
  10. Shrawan Rana
  11. Deepesh Rai






+ Plot
Hamlet with a shaven head as befits the eldest son at the burning of his father’s lifeless body. He is infuriated with anger and hatred towards his uncle who has taken his late father’s empire and even his wife (Hamlet’s mother). Hamlet is determined to avenge his father’s death so that his spirit could finally rest in peace.



+ High Points
i – The performances by the main cast was good, especially by the actor who played the role of Hamlet.

ii – The costumes were well designed in the theme of Nepali regime.



+ Low Points
i – Huge blunder I would say, how the English subtitles were handled.

  • They were placed on higher end of the wall while the play was being performed down below. Either you could read the subtitles or watch the play.
  • Due to stage’s such intense lights, the audience could hardly make out to what was written in subtitles.
  • The subtitles were appearing late while the performers delivered their dialogues already.
  • Half of the subtitles were going out of the frame which all adds up to the technical department’s mismanagement.
  • It started out after 25 minutes late due to arranging subtitles for the audience to understand to what exactly was happening in the play but even then they did not make it work.

ii – The set design was very basic and simple.


+ Overall
It’s a shame really, to see one of the greatest Shakespeare’s plays, Hamlet to be performed with such great efforts, only to be received with the public’s walkout due to its unreadable subtitles.



Rate: N/A out of 5 stars


Theatre Plays

Mr. Khan’s Review on Aasey Hi Chalta Hai (2017)

A review on Pakistani Comedy theatre play, Aasey Hi Chalta Hai (2017). It was performed at NAPA’s International Theatre Festival 2017.




+ Crew

  • Directed & Set Design by Uzma Sabeen
  • Written by Qadir Khan






+ Note
Aasey Hi Chalta Hai is a social commentary on the vicious circle of our system which is designed to serve the elite rather than being helpful to the common man.



+ Full Cast

  1. Tanveer Gill as Common Man
  2. Ahmer Hussain as Stranger
  3. Fraz Chhotani as Head Clerk
  4. Hammad Khan as Clerk
  5. Ashfaq Ahmed as Agriculture / Cultural / Plantation Dept. Minister
  6. Naz as News Report #1
  7. Haris Khan as News Report #2
  8. Najma Kifayat as MNA





+ Plot
A common man tries to help a poet who accidentally stuck under a fallen tree. He tries to bring help by arranging rescue team from the govt. but their only concern is regarding beneficial matters.



+ High Points
i – Even if Hammad Khan has no punch lines to deliver, even then he has his means to make the audience laugh. His body gestures, movements and hilarious facial expressions were stealing the show from the main cast. Instead of watching and listening carefully as to what other characters are doing, the audience was forced to take a good look at him as what he was doing exactly.

ii – Fraz Chhotani played his supporting role very well and effectively as Head Clerk. Other Honorable Mentions: Ashfaq Ahmed and Tanveer Gill.

iii – Good direction yet again by wonderful Uzma Sabeen. She is very talented in directing comedies.

iv – The message of the black comedy was well intended and represented in a very comical method.

v – The set was well designed and constructed.




+ Low Points
i – Most of the jokes and funny punch lines were repetitive, predictable and therefore tiresome to listen to.

ii – The play was too short. It ended in just 40 minutes! Some of the people were thinking that now the play has started to be interesting… and the play was suddenly over.

iii – The cast was picked with strong performers but unfortunately their talents were wasted majorly due to minor roles.

iv – Audience find it hard to believe that the play has actually ended because of its abrupt ending. Most of the people kept remaining at their seats thinking perhaps this is just an interval.


+ Overall
Aasay Hi Chalta Hai’s talented cast shines full of humor with combination of good direction but can’t make up for a short premise and lack of worthy jokes.



Rate: 3.0 out of 5 stars


Theatre Plays

Mr. Khan’s Review on Gardish-e-Rung-e-Junoon (2017)

A review on Pakistani Drama theatre play, Gardish-e-Rung-e-Junoon (2017). It was performed at NAPA’s International Theatre Festival 2017.





+ Crew

  • Directed by Fraz Chhotanni
  • Written by Naz






+ Note
The system of injustice and the collision of the institutions of state with the media and elite of the country are the central focus of the play that seeks a change in this unjust system.




+ Full Cast

  1. Najma Kifayat as Nuura
  2. Owais Mubashir as Nazir
  3. Ashfaq Ahmed as Qadir
  4. Samhan Ghazi as Police Man
  5. Asma Noor as Sakeena
  6. Fraz Chhotani as Journalist
  7. Pashmina Aqeel as Bachi
  8. Muhammad Akhtar as Baray Molvi
  9. Akbar Islam as Sarpanj
  10. Uzma Sabeen as Bibi Ji
  11. Hasnain as Aadmi #1
  12. Farhan Malik as Aadmi #2
  13. Zuhair Zubair as Aadmi #3
  14. Tanveer Gill as Aadmi #4







+ Plot
It is about a mother who is seeking justice for her 10-year-old daughter who was raped by unknown culprit. After refusal for help by the station police and tribal judicial department, the mother tries to find the culprit on her own.






+ High Points
i – Najma Kifayat played her role splendidly as the victim’s mother, where on hard times she is struggling very badly to look for answers. It is good to see you in a different, mature and in a lead role.

ii – As I have always said that Owais Mubashir is a brilliant actor where he is easily adaptable in any role given to him. To play the role as antagonist, he went in depths of the character’s wants and diabolical schemes. Well done! Other Honorable Mentions: Ashfaq Ahmed, Fraz Chhotani and Akbar Islam.






+ Low Points
i – The play had too much shouting & screaming. I understand the sensitivity of the play’s topic and that the mother is now left alone in front of village that refuses to believe or even help her to investigate — even then the anguish of the protagonist where she sees her fate hopeless could be controlled with less screaming but more facial pain.

Her body movement could be shown as defeated, look surrounded by hallucinations or the unrest spirit of the victim asking for help… there are many things that could be done to reduce the number of times she shouts or scream. Otherwise, it makes the viewer very uncomfortable to sit & watch the play with already sensitive topic as main plot.

ii – The controls behind the play’s lighting was clumsy. An actor who is still giving his monologue yet the stage’s lights is switched off. The audience was left in pitch black darkness while the actor’s speech continued.

iii – The ending seemed like very a fairy tale one. I heard that the original ending was quite different but was it was refused to make the final cut. However, this ending was too unrealistic in the given situation.




+ Overall
Gardish-e-Rung-e-Junoon has many delicate, moving moments but falls short in capturing the audience hearts in the same way as this courageous story was meant to be.


Rate: 2.75 out of 5 stars



Theatre Plays

Mr. Khan’s Review on Absolut Manto (2017)

A review on Pakistani Drama theatre play, Absolut Manto (2017). It was performed at NAPA’s International Theatre Festival 2017.




+ Crew

  • Directed by Kanwal Khoosat
  • Written by Saadat Hasan Manto





+ Note
Absolut Manto was supposed to be a Dastangoi play. However, it was conducted in the form of reading the stories to the audience.


+ Full Cast

  1. Sania Saeed
  2. Feryal Ali Gauhar
  3. Irfan Khoosat
  4. Sarmad Khoosat






+ Plot
Best known for his short stories, Saadat Hasan Manto chronicled the chaos that prevailed in society. Arguably the best Urdu short story writer and writer of realistic prose in South Asia, he was a maverick in a society that did not accept the bitter truths. His contribution to Urdu literature makes him a model for 21st century writers.



+ High Points
i – Well known and established TV stars are in the cast.


+ Low Points
i – I am sorry, what? Read? You say Read? In the entire play, you would read to the audience and you call that a performance? If the same task was given to the performers of NAPA / other theatre academy, they would have tell these stories in the shape of their characters… and without reading.


+ Overall
All that hype with inclusion of A-grade star cast, Absolut Manto turns out to be an epic failure.

Rate: 0 out of 5 stars


Theatre Plays

Mr. Khan’s Review on Ikhtiar (2017)

A review on Pakistani drama theatre play, Ikhtiar (2017). It was performed at NAPA’s International Theatre Festival 2017.




+ Crew

  • Directed by Zain Ahmed
  • Written by Syed Meesam Naqvi





+ Note
Ikhtiar is based on a true story. It is about a Shia couple against the backdrop of sectarian violence.

This play explores gender relations within the context of Karachi violence that has targeted many Muslim sect communities.


+ Full Cast

  1. Hajira Yamin as Tara
  2. Kashif Hussain as Meesam
  3. Hani Taha as Baji
  4. Saad Zameer Fareedi as Shia Molvi






+ Performers & Singers

  1. Zain Nazar
  2. Aisha Iqbal
  3. Abdul Rehman
  4. Syeda Maha Ali
  5. Irma Ali
  6. Damyanti Gosai
  7. Faraz Ali
  8. Muneeb Baig
  9. Mujtaba Rizvi
  10. Ubaid Iqbal
  11. Muhammad Zaman






+ Plot
After losing their infant due to miscarriage, there has been an uncomfortable atmosphere that is grown between the couple especially regarding to have a child. The husband fears for the survival of his community as many are killed on hate crimes. His desire for a child is concern and much needed for happiness in his married life.

However, his wife thinks otherwise.



+ High Points
i – Hajra Yamin as the fragile wife performed the protagonist role marvelously. Her role was the most difficult one to perform yet she did it better than the audience expectations.

ii – Hani Taha played her role very natural. Her performance was so realistic that it showed as if she was interacting with someone close to her rather than playing her part. Other Honorable Mentions: Rest of the cast.

iii – As for writing — Meesam, you made us all cry… is this how a play is written? After the play ended with huge round of applause, every guy was waiting in queue to congratulate Meesam by hugging him in similar manner as we do to a bridegroom. It was beautifully written with very emotional, heartening theme which ran throughout the play.

I remember, that there were two women who were sited next to me and kept crying throughout the play. Every few minutes, a new tissue wrapper was opened due to consistent tears running down their cheeks.

iv – Respected Zain Ahmed struck a gold in his direction. In his plays, we are able to witness high praise worthy performances and spend a wonderful time.

v – An effective sad song was sung by Zain Nazar. He has a very good voice.

vi – It takes a daring step to present these sensitive issues regarding sectarianism and religious intolerance, arranged marriages, dominating gender roles, and the rights of women especially of giving birth in Pakistan. These major issues have taken over the new generations as well.


+ Low Points
i – Basic story line / theme with hardly any set design.


+ Overall
Ikhtiar tells a personal story that never loses its touch with the vast Muslim Sect community which spaces in surrounding and defining it. It is truly an epic that breathes. And it’s a beauty.


Rate: 5 out of 5 stars


Theatre Plays

Mr. Khan’s Review on Return to Palestine (2017)

A review on foreign comedy drama theatre play, Return to Palestine (2017). It was performed at NAPA’s International Theatre Festival 2017.




+ Crew

  • Directed by Micaela Miranda




+ Note
Return to Palestine is a Palestinian black comedy play, which was performed in English. At abroad, this play was originally performed in Arabic. It was devised together with the ensemble of graduated actors from The Freedom Theatre Acting School.

In a sarcastic, comic but also tragic style, the actors create the space, characters and even the emotional spaces they live in in a virtuoso play with their bodies in an a very small stage – “as small as Palestine”.

Return to Palestine gathers stories from Jenin, Fasayel, Dheisha Camp, Mufaqara and Gaza.



+ Full Cast

  1. Nabil Alraee
  2. Ihad Talahmeh
  3. Alaa Shehadah
  4. Ameer Abu Rob
  5. Motaz Malhees
  6. Raneen Odeh
  7. Shahd Samara
  8. Samer Abuantash





+ Plot
Jad, a Palestinian born in America, decides to go to Palestine for the first time in his life. Wanting to know more about his people and identity, he finds out that reality is very different from what you see in the news.




+ High Points
i – The play’s humor boosted the impact of the actors’ performances.

ii – The performances by the entire cast is splendidly executed. It kept everyone attention glued to the stage.

iii – The musical chores played via Arabic instruments helped the scenes’ shifting and lifted the play interest level.

iv – It shows that with even limited resources, how you can still present it thriving while having abundance of creativity. The creative way to show transportation, the journey in visiting different cities, the sound effects made by performers was very well put. The director’s creativity made me remind of the Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami.

v – The audience consisted mostly of Pakistani Muslims and already have a soft spot for Palestine and their play. Thus, the public were already warmly attached to it. The director did a fantastic job by taking this play through the shape of black comedy and ending it on a very emotional note. It touched the audience hearts in such a way that there was no doubt that they would end up by giving a standing ovation.

I could still remember the echoes of the audience applause. Truly well done!



+ Low Points
i – The story was very simple and basic.

ii – Since there were no set design, there were times where it was difficult to make out of their gestures.


+ Overall
Return to Palestine breathes new life into this kind of black comedy with inventive direction, influential performances, and an irresistible excess of heart.

Rate: 4.50 out of 5 stars