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The hypocrisies for laughters

Reviewed by Muttahir Ahmed Khan

National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) is, these days, staging a nice comedy play “Sau Din Chor Kay” at its auditorium. In this age of anxiety and depression, the subject venture is nothing less than a blessing for the Karachiites. Mistaken identities, accidents of coincidence, double enterers and near misses, this laugh-out-loud script by Michael Cooney has them all. A simple situation snowballs into a side-splitting quagmire of lie upon lie, until it’s hard to tell what’s true and what’s not. This play offers an evening of riotous entertainment; laugh follows laugh as the characters try to extract themselves from the chaos that they themselves have constructed, to an unexpected and hilarious end. As the frivolity goes on and on with tickling dialogues and naughty situations, the audience can not help being amused.

Basically a Farce, according to genre, the plot of the play centers on Aamir who, unbeknownst to his fiancée Samra, has been committing fraud for a couple of years by claiming benefits for an army of fictitious lodgers, all of whom suffer from a variety of ailments. As the curtain rises, Aamir is finding that it’s all getting too complicated and tries to extricate himself by killing off his make-believe tenants. He calls the council to tell them that one of his creations, Irshad, the painter, has died. He is interrupted in this by the real life Irshad who really is Aamir’s lodger, but has no idea that Aamir is claiming benefits in his name. When a few minutes later Inspector Nadeem comes round to see another one of the fictitious claimants, Irshad gets sucked into Aamir’s web of deceit. Matters aren’t helped by the arrival of Samra and assorted officials from the council, but the mirth certainly is cranked up. Can Aamir somehow pull it off? At the very least, it’ll take a symphony of fibs, mistiming, mistaken identities, and hasty inventions until the convolutions are straightened out.

The Director of the play Uzma Sabeen has achieved her Master’s in English Literature. She, then, joined NAPA for direction. She has worked as a lighting designer for many esteemed directors. As a director, she has directed plays for the Academy and commercially as well. She has received Pakistan Media Award 2013 in Best Theatre Category. She has done certification in Lighting Design and Pre-visualization from SILV, USA and earned a ‘Seal of Qualification’ from the same Institute. Currently she is actively involved with NAPA in teaching and management capacities. All the performers of the play, under review, have done their job justly and have added beauty to the play.