15 January, 2011

“Brecht Theatre Festival” begins

Published in Pakistan Observer (15 Jan. 2011)
Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD: To pay homage to Bertolt Brecht (10 February 1898—14 August 1956), a German poet, playwright and theatre director, a play titled ‘Takey Da Tamasha’ was staged at Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) auditorium on Friday evening.

‘Takey Da Tamasha’ is part of “Brecht Theatre Festival” from 14th to 16th January, organized by PNCA in collaboration with Ajoka Theatre to introduce Brecht, an influential theatre practitioner of the 20th century who made significant contributions to dramaturgy and theatrical production.

The play ‘Takey Da Tamasha’ is part of three-day festival which marks 25 years of performing arts in Pakistan deals with themes of dictatorship, betrayal and corruption. The plays have been adapted by well-known dramatist, Shahid Nadeem and directed by founder Ajoka Theatre, Madiha Gohar.

Takey ka Tamasha’ is an adaptation of the play, ‘Three Penny Opera’ which was first performed in 1991. The play ‘Three penny Opera’ which has been translated into 18 languages and performed more than 10000 times on European stage, is a musical by German dramatist Bertolt Brecht who was forced to leave Germany by the rise of Hitler in 1933. The play was first staged in 1928 in Berlin.

The next scheduled play ‘Chaak Chakkar’ is an adaptation of ‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’ while
Bala King’ is an adaptation of ‘The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui’.

The Three-Penny Opera is a satire on the bourgeois society in London’s post Victorian era. The hero-villain of the play is Mac, the Knife who is sharp, ruthless, and rash but at the same time representative of bourgeois values and business ethics. Then there was another gangster, policemen, priests, beggar-operators, who set the scene of wheeling-dealings, corruption, betrayals and conspiracies with no holds barred. The play may appear to be a farce but it is scathing attack on the hypocritical values and cut throat competition of a capitalist society.

It is not hard to grasp the contemporary social relevance of the actual play with today’s Pakistani society as Shahid Nadeem’s adaptation places it in inner Lahore Tibbi City. With its proliferation of prostitutes, shady characters, dark alleys, drug-pushers, it can pride in being Lahore’s Soho. Mac becomes Fooka Terror of today’s Tibbi.

Other two plays ‘Chaak Chakkar’ and ‘Bala King’ will be presented on Saturday and Sunday respectively. All performances will begin at 7 p.m. at the PNCA auditorium.