Sunday, August 8, 2010

NCA to highlight origin, evolution of Urdu drama

Originally published in The News on Wednesday, March 18, 2009

By Schezee Zaidi

The Department of Theatre (National College of Arts, Rawalpindi Campus) will hold a series of lectures and performances at the National Art Gallery from March 18 (today) to 21 to highlight the origin and evolution of Urdu drama and theatre.

Supported by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA), the events, to be held daily from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., would include lectures, performances, excerpts and discussions on ‘Early Urdu Theatre: Traditions & Transformations’.

Starting from the first play of Urdu theatre ‘Indar Sabha’ and a lecture on ‘Bhands’ along with their performances, the event would also draw attention towards the Shakespearean influence on Urdu drama and theatre and Agha Hashr Kashmiri’s dramas.

Eminent writers and scholars, including Dr. Anna Suvorova, Zia Mohyuddin, Aslam Azhar, Iftikhar Arif and Claire Pamment would deliver lectures and chair the discussion forums.

Participating scholar Dr. Anna Suvorova is head of Asian Literature Department at the Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences. She is a widely published scholar in the Indo-Islamic Culture, Sufism, Comparative Literature, South Asian Theatre and Contemporary Fine Arts. The NCA Department of Theatre is hosting Dr. Suvorova for an HEC-funded residency and launch of her new book, ‘Early Urdu Drama on Stage: From Beginning to Agha Hashr Kashmiri’, by the Research & Publication Centre, NCA.

Zia Mohyuddin is chairman of the National Academy of Performing Arts and a highly acclaimed actor and theatre director.

Aslam Azhar is the founder of Pakistan Television (PTV). He is an acclaimed theatre actor, who initiated the Karachi-based theatre group ‘Dastak’ in 1983.

Iftikhar Arif is an eminent Urdu poet and chairman of the National Language Authority (NLA). Claire Pamment is head of the Department of Theatre at NCA, Rawalpindi Campus, and is currently pursuing her PhD research on ‘Bhands as a Trickster Mode in Pakistani Theatre’.

On the opening day today (Wednesday), a lecture would be presented by Dr. Anna Suvorova on the ‘Origins of the Urdu Theatre and Drama’ followed by another lecture by Claire Pamment on ‘Bhands’ accompanied by a performance by ‘bhands’ Munir Hussain and Zulfikar. The discussion would be chaired by Aslam Azhar.

On the second day, a lecture by Dr. Anna Suvorova on ‘Indar Sabha: First Play of Urdu Theatre’ would be followed by performance excerpts of Amanat’s ‘Indar Sabha’. The discussion session of the day would be chaired by Iftikhar Arif.

The third day would include another lecture by Dr. Anna Suvorova on the ‘Shakespearean Influence on Urdu Drama & Theatre’. It would be followed by a presentation by Zia Mohyuddin on ‘Staging Safaid Khoon’ and performance excerpts of Agha Hashr Kashmiri’s ‘Safaid Khoon’. The discussion forum of the day would be chaired jointly by Zia Mohyuddin and Dr. Anna Suvorova.

The concluding day’s events on March 21 would include lectures by Zia Mohyuddin and Dr. Anna Suvorova on ‘Agha Hashr Kashmiri’s Dramas (1879-1935)’ followed by performance excerpts of Agha Hashr Kashmiri’s ‘Khubsurat Bala’. The concluding discussion forum would be chaired by Dr. Anna Suvorova and Zia Mohyuddin.

The performances are directed by the NCA theatre faculty with theatre direction by Sarmad Sehbai, choreography by Indu Mitha and music direction by Arif Jaffri.

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