While I was coming to UK for my studies, I made a list of the things that I will be doing in UK while studding here. In last 18 months, I have managed to achieve quite a lot of those tasks but due to “human negligence”, some of them are still to be done. Going to theatre and watching a Shakespeare’s play was in that list too. This past Friday I went to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre where an Olympic festival under the name of World Shakespeare Festival 2012 is going on. The project name is globe to globe where 37 of Shakespeare’s plays are being staged in 37 languages from across the globe.
This Friday it was team from Pakistan, Theatre Wallay, was on stage performing Urdu version of “The Taming of the Shrew”. It is story of two sisters, where the beautiful Biana has no shortage of suitors, her father, Baptista Minola, decrees she cannot marry before her elder sister Katherina, who is very tempestuous and shrew in this story. The aficionados of Biana pay a witty fortune-seeker, Petruchio, to marry Katherina. In the end Petruchio manages to marry her and tame the shrew through all the possible means, on the other hand the admirers of Biana fall over each other in their attempt to win her love and eventually after a hilarious rivalry Lucentio wins her love while Hortensio, and Gremio left with crying over their fate.
The show begin with the appearance of legendry actor Salman Shahid on stage where he made the introductory speech that ended with, “now these musicians will play national anthem, of Pakistan, of course, but don’t worry it is just the national anthem not a takeover.”
After that the next two and half hours were full of amuzment, where the years old classic was translated in such a good manner that it actually looked like as if Shakespeare wrote it while sitting in Lahore, Baptista Minola became Mian Basheer (Salman Shahid), Katherina became Qurat ul Ain (Nadia Jamil), Biana became Bina (Keren David). Hasnat (Osman Khalid But), Ghazi (Mukkaram Kaleem), and Qazim (Umer Naru) were the Urdu version of suitors. Rustam (Omair Rana) was the Urdu version of man on a mission Petruchio. The other characters who added even more Pakistani flavour to it were Mir (Tranio), Biru (Binodello), Sifarish Khan (Grumio), Peepa (Curtis), Waqarudin (Vincentio), Tajir (Merchant), and Begum (Widow). Maira Khan (not the Humsuffer one) was the Sly or Ravi of the story.
Performances were amazing, all the actors did full justice to the character however Omair Rana, Nadia Jamil, and Keren David were the best with their acting, their expressions, their dialogue deliver, and they way they added life to the story. And of course my personal favourite (all times favourite I would say) Salman Shahid have been the strong support of the show with his witty, and at times, tri-lingual dialogues. Team successfully added different aspects of Pakistani flavours to the play Lahore, Karachi, and Mianwali replaced the cities mentioned in the original play. Different dialects of Urdu were on stage depicting the mixture of mother tongue in the national language of Pakistan. And when Mianwali was on the stage then how Ataullah Esakhelwi and his “black shirt” could be missed.
Play managed to attract enough people that it was a packed show where Urdu was a foreign language for most of the audience. However, electric boards on the both sides of the stage were put to give a glimpse about what is going on stage. The hall was filled with the applause when the ending dialogue “Aaai BOOOOW” was delivered and in-fact many among the audience gave the standing obviation to “Theatre Wallay”.