A night to remember at the World Performing Arts Festival:Of Abu Ghraib, gypsies and robotic Puppets

Daily Times, Pakistan, 14-Nov-06
Staff Report

Pakistan, November 14, 2006


Sampa Sen as Sajida.
Sampa Sen as Sajida.


A night to remember at the World Performing Arts Festival: Of Abu Ghraib, gypsies and robotic Puppets

Staff Report


LAHORE: The main attraction on the fourth night of performances at the World Performing Arts Festival was Spandan an Indian theatre company's performance on the atrocities committed by US forces at the Abu Ghraib prison.

Actually the subject of this play already creped a high temperature in the festival, so business at the ticket stands was very busy and put some challenge for the weekend people wanting tickets for the eagerly anticipated Gypsy Night at the open-air theatre.

Spandan played 'Operation Flush', a 90-minute portrayal of the events that occurred in Abu Ghraib. The fact that the audience was silent throughout the performance is testament to the powerful nature and compelling storytelling of the play.


Samudra Guha, the director, told Daily Times that 'Operation Flush' was based on the trials of the American soldiers accused of torturing prisoners of war at Abu Ghraib. He said that the character of Lt Col Sarsman was being tried for physical abuse by the US army camp in Iraq. He said the play had been specially tailored to tell people about the conditions the citizens of present-day Iraq were facing. The play had garnered widespread International acclaim and received rave reviews from the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune.

The audience reacted by the talented acting of Sampa, played in the role of the tortured Iraqi women.

Nikolai Zykov, the Russian puppet show, was also a unique attraction at the WPAF. The troupe used radio-controlled puppets, which were more detailed and more true to life than traditional ones. Russian puppetry, the troupe members said, was far more difficult than standard puppetry because it involved greater technical know-how, being more technological and complex in nature. However, the audience was entranced by the novelty, the likes of which has never been seen in Pakistan before. Films screened on Monday included 'Halls', the Czech flick 'Divided We Fall' and Irani movie 'Azadwaj Surati'. However, the atmosphere at the open-air theatre was buzzing with anticipation as performers lit up gypsy night with their colourful performances. Reshman, the gypsy folk singer from Rajasthan was one of the most eagerly anticipated acts of the night. She mesmerized the audience with her husky lulling voice, and had the audience moving in the aisles with her hit 'Lambi Judai'. Raya, the Norwegian gypsy dancer also performed a variety of pieces.




 
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