City Culture – Halloween with Pillowman

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Fuckin’ Brilliant. Excuse my language here but The Pillowman was fuckin’ brilliant. Dark and Creepy. Comic and Horrifying. Pillowman unfolded it’s many flavours with near perfection. The Karachi walla always wanted to see a play close to the performers, without thick curtains and formal spaces in between. ‘Made for Stage’ understood the need. Inside the small and cozy MAD School, audience were brought up and close to the stage, making them part of the performance itself. And when the play reached it’s zenith, you forgot that it was a mere act. On an emotional roller-coaster ride, you were forced to switch feelings; from hatred to sympathy, in an instant. You had to suppress the urge to jump into the scene and turn the looming tragedy into a happy ending somehow. The Pillowman was one hell of a play. Thank you ‘Made for Stage’. Thank you Nida Butt for the Halloween treat!

Personally the expectations from the play were low after somewhat disappointing ‘Karachi-the musical’. The play is different from a usual Nida Butt play; without lofty curtains or extravagant group dances, elaborate props or live music, flamboyant sets or glittering glamour, Pillowman is a low budget and minimalist production depending only on the prowess of  its cast. And boy did they perform! Well sometimes they were bit too loud and intense but I guess it was not too big a problem.

Based on an award winning play by Irish playwright Martin McDonagh, the story has been given a local flavour; Gibrael and Israel as Interrogators, Start and End with azaan – very much like a Moslem life – intentional or accidental similarities to the totalitarian era of Zia. Such references helped you interpret the scene in your own way.

For the benefit of those who have not seen it, the story revolves around an author Katurian Katurian whose stories instigate murders in the city. Officers Gibrael and Israel interrogate the author, accusing him of conspiring the murders which he vehemently denies. Gibrael and Israel fare contrasting personalities, the eccentricity of Gibrael’s character in deep contrast with the conventional macho-ness of Israel. As the story unfolds, the humane side of both come out, forcing the audience to change earlier verdicts about both. The pick of the play is the dialogue between Katurian – brilliantly played by Rouvan Mahmud – and his younger brother, Mikal Katurian – outstandingly played by young Rafeh Mahmud (Are they brothers in real life too?).

The play is a must watch. Don’t know if it will be repeated but ‘like’ MAD SCHOOL fan page here. Stay tuned and pray that they perform it again. Or you can regret missing it.

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Categories: City Culture

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