New theatre from Calcutta, India ignites the passion

Daily Mail Pakistan, 13-Nov-06
Gina Keating

Lahore, November 13, 2006

New theatre from Calcutta, India ignites the passion

Gina Keating

LAHORE—If watching theatre is your passion, then Lahore Black Box Auditorium of Al Hamra Cultural complex can give you a route for new kind of theatrical experiments.

Last night Spandan a theatre unit of Indian Peoples Theatre had performed a beautiful Play Operation Flush, which is a documentary play, a rare genre of world theatre. Sangram Guha the playwright of this drama told Daily Mail that this play is based on the real life trial of the American soldiers accused of torturing the Prisoners of War in the Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq.

Although the names of the characters are fictitious but the event bears similarity with the real incidents. This is a research based documentary drama with high friction frame. The directorial part is also a new kind of multimedia experimentation thematically
blended with the script.The crowded auditorium watch an absolutely new kind of theatre language, which is again true to their experience. The Director of that magnificent play Samudra Guha remarked as the drama has its own from, you can be called it as the Brechtian style but not in totality.

Before the play the team member of Spandan circulating synopsis of the drama among the crowd in Urdu language, which again a mark of their sincerity to inform the message of the drama. Probol Deb, an actor while circulating the handy paper print, told, we want to inform the Pakistani people about our tremendous research work.

Before the drama starts, an young lady of Spandan briefed the details and the focal point of the drama to the audience. As the drama is played in Bengali there might be a problem to understand the content. But her beautiful oration helped a lot to get the theme. She informed that this play is based on the reports published in different newspapers and periodicals e.g. The Daily Mirror, The Guardian, The New Yorker, website of Al Jazeera TV, etc.

The main character of this play is Lt. Col. Nathan Sarsman, the prime accused for the torture. His colleague, Cell Commander Luke Harding has also being tried along with Lt. Col. Sarsman in the play. The other major characters are Mr. Nicholas Tarse, the lawyer representing the Human Rights Commission, Madam Amal Swadi, the lawyer representing the tortured Iraqi prisoners, Mr. Megan Davis, the defense lawyer of US National Guard, Sajida Makhmal, an Iraqi woman tortured brutally in Abu Ghraib prison and Al Sameera, a key witness in this case.

The place of the mock trial conducted by U.N.O. is in an Army camp at Iraq. In this play Lt. Col. Sarsman is being tried of brutal physical torturing as well as raping and killing the prisoners in Abu Ghraib jail. The indomitable spirit and courage of Sajida Makhmal, an ordinary Iraqi woman and one of the tortured prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison helped the court to establish the charges raised against Sarsman in the court.

The audience is getting overwhelmed by the tremendous acting of Spandan. Feroza Mahummod, the star actress of Pakistani Film told, I came all the way from Karachi to this festival and I am satisfied to see this drama. I had seen many Indian Theatre, but this is a new kind of experience, sincerely I am just really getting spellbound by the performance of Sajida (Acted Sampa Sen), Tarse (Acted Samudra Guha), Sarsman (Acted Sankar Prasad) and the child actor (Acted Abhigyan Guha).

World Performing & Visual Arts Festival on its third day made a high quality cultural input in its merit and excellence. President Musharraf may present tomorrow to see the performance of Spandan. Congratulations! Spandan for their performance.

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