By Fatimeh Munawar
On Saturday, 14th November, DramaFest took place at LUMS. It was streaked with colours, music and artistic expressions like none other: a truly entertaining event where universities and schools nationwide come together to showcase their talent and idiosyncrasy.
Right in front of the audience, the stage was set, awaiting the entrance of actors once the magnificent,burgundy curtains parted in a swift theatrical motion. The two hosts: Lalarukh Murtaza, and Aadil Lalani, could be heard loud and clear relaying the names of each play and paying thanks to the respective schools.
The sponsors of this event were mentioned before the shows, the chief among them being PEL.
The event started off with a light hearted comic play produced by LUMS own Dramaline Productions. Directed by Kiran Shahid, the play began the day on a humorous note. A boy who could not for the life of him get a girl to marry him had to resort to Cupid (who in this case was a man dressed up in white shirt and pink skirt along with pink wings and a hairband) Cupid made a mess of it and then broke his very pink frilly wand. The boy ended up alone only to have cupid pick him up bridal style and forcefully whisk him away with him – How could this not leave anyone with tears of laughter on their face!
The sheer incongruence of events in a comic blend made the people bend over shaking bellies with hands pressed to their sides!
There were intervals between the plays where the hosts would ask for volunteers and play a game which ended in free gifts being distributed by the sponsors.
UCL presented a thought provoking play called “Soch”. Soch was a man who would cry over the injustice and brutality imposed on people of this world. He stared with shock as people passed by a dying man who had been shot a few seconds ago! These people wore white masks before coming on stage. Later, we saw that this play was meant to represent Pakistan’s current state where people find it a norm to do unjust things and if anyone questions the on goings of the state, they are hanged for the act of treason just like Soch. Upon His death a few National figures – basically people dressed up as Jinnah etcetera were standing in the background with Pakistan’s national anthem playing. The play tied up all ends beautifully by symbolically urging the audience to stand in honour of an anthem that has long lost its meaning, and to stand and watch like a helpless spectator while innocence is being hanged at the altar of death.
After this, a play of murder and mystery was brought before us by none other than Aga Khan University where one of the directors of the company secretly got all the other directors and the chairman locked in one room, and killed them one by one. An aura of suspense along with mindboggling lies and hysteria made the play worthwhile!
Following this, another Dramaline production, directed by Khadija Cheema, took place that showed us a bleaker side of reality. The impotent son of a conventional tribal family – played by the male lead Abdullah Haroon – suffered at the hands of an unfortunate medical condition and gave into domestic violence as he could not provide his parents with an heir. When he learns that he is the one at fault and not the fertility of his wife that is incapable of conceiving, he loses control over his emotions as his denial of the truth takes him to a dark path. Disappointment, humiliation and anger mix up to confound his rationality. At this point a very dense, symbolic dance takes place that represents the lead’s inner conflicts, mesmerizing the audience with its intense grip. At the end the man cries out in a painful roar at what he has become, and just then the play concludes.
Following these plays were plays produced by Lyceum, LGS and NUST that also had an emotional story behind them and were worthy of applause! NCA closed the event, and I must say, emerged as stars of the night, with unblemished creativity and finesse that reflected from their performance. For an improvised performance, the show exceeded all expectations and entertained the audience best during the twenty minutes of stage time they had. It also served to draw greater throngs of people for the last day of Dramafest that was to follow on Sunday which too was packed with an equally exhilarating set of performances.