Ajoka treats Karachi

hotel moenjodaro

For 3 days at the Arts Council, Karachi was treated to the most riveting performances by Ajoka, a theater group headed by Madeeha Gauhar. The series of three plays, called ‘Theater in the times of Jihad’, was a theatrical experience that gripped its audience from beginning to end. I was unfortunate to have missed the first two performances- Burqavaganza and Bulla; but Hotel MoenjoDaro, the last play of the series, left no room for regrets.

The musical satire was an adaptation of Ghulam Abbas’s short story in Urdu called Dhanak. While the topic was pretty cliched for the modern day but what made it awe-inspiring was the fact that the story written more than 40 years ago, and yet, seemed to ring just as true for today as it may have then.

The play, which lasted for a little over an hour, turned out to be an emotional roller coaster. Sitting in the audience, one expected a serious play touching upon terrorism and suicide bombers, yet the play took off with a truly inspiring note where a Pakistani had just landed on the moon. From then on, the play quickly shifted its gear into light-hearted comedy, something that the play retained even at the most intense moments. As the play progressed the audience was exposed to theatrical excellence in large doses.

While the actors and dancers gave a memorable performance, the true magic was created by those off the stage. The narration, the lighting, the set designing, the choreography and the sound that set the mood of the play, and allowed the audience to witness the colorful chaos that Ghulam Sahab had envisaged in his book almost half a century ago.

Karachi, a city deprived of such cultural activities, is hoping Ajoka will revisit the city again soon to stage the other plays in its portfolio.

Image Credits: Jamal Ashiqain and Raheel Lakhani

8 Comments so far

  1. barristerakc on October 16th, 2008 @ 10:57 pm

    I loved the play last night! awesome…………

  2. obiwankenobe on October 16th, 2008 @ 11:56 pm

    How much was the ticket ? Care to share please ?

  3. IUnknown (iunknown) on October 17th, 2008 @ 9:43 am

    Rome was burning and nero was playing on flute.. wah! wah!

    Lets see when the fire reaches our homes.

  4. barristerakc on October 17th, 2008 @ 11:00 am

    @obiwankenobe, well AJOKA gave out an all free show although I think everyone there contributed a decent amount to buy the literature they offered.

    @IUnkown Sahib,
    Pakistan needs a huge media discussion, seminars along with a revamp of its current Pakistan Studies in order to remove this wrong notion that Pakistan has a religio-theological foundation. The moment Pakistani people understand that Pakistan need not re-assert its Islamic intent of conforming all its Acts and procedures there under to the Shariat in order to be a `true` Pakistani- then we have foound a cure for mullahism.

    (PS. Btw, start a positive contributing campaign and I will stand by you brother)

  5. IUnknown (iunknown) on October 17th, 2008 @ 3:50 pm

    So, by doing these dramas and dancing, pakistan will start progressing?

    Time for discussions has long gone.

  6. IUnknown (iunknown) on October 17th, 2008 @ 3:52 pm

    also, wat religion has to do with progress? It encourages to study and get technical expertise. But since we have become so much liberal facists or trying to be , we have only got 1 thing in our brains. That is called "GARBAGE"

  7. sakhan on October 21st, 2008 @ 10:45 am

    شکر ہے اجوکا ہے ، لیکن کیا کراچی جیسے دوکروڑ کی آبادی والے شہر میں ، فن کی بقا کے لئے ایک اجوکا کافی ہے ،، اس شہر کو اپنی شناخت اور پہچھان کے لئے ایک نئی کئی درجن اجوکا تھیٹروں کی ضروت ہے ۔۔کیا یہ ممکن نیہن کہ کراچی کے ہر ٹاون میں ایک اوپن ایئر تھیٹر بنایا جائے اور اس کے زریعے لوگوں کی تربیت کا کام لیا جائے ،، کاش ایسا ممکن ہو

    رہے نام اللہ کا

  8. barristerakc on October 22nd, 2008 @ 1:04 am

    @Sakhan, ohoo! ahel-e-zulban! app kay muuu mein ghee-shakar! although Ajoka came from Lahore. Ofcourse, we should have more theatres…!

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