Thespianz String Puppetry for Elders !!

Keeping its campaign for the revival of cultural heritage, social programs and traditional folk art fully alive and affective; Thespianz Theater has been organizing String Puppet Performances at different venues and places of the country for last three years. In this regard, the latest venture was presented at Pak-American Cultural Centre (PACC) Auditorium, on Saturday, 20th September. The event was, beyond any cavil, a vibrant, fascinating and informative demonstration of this ancient art. The Art of Puppetry has always been a great tool for conveying the massages of socio-political awareness and teachings through humour and entertainment to the masses of all social calibers. It is a matter of great pleasure to see that Thespianz Theater, under the supervision of its Director Mr. Faisal Malik, is making efforts to familiarize the younger and modern generations with this beautiful art that has been neglected for a few decades. The children who are not only addicted to but are also some times fed up with the computer games and gadget-based entertainment particularly enjoyed the show and admired the all concerning people and organizations with their warn clapping.

The fresh endeavor by Thespianz Theater introduced the folk stories of “Heer Ranjha” and “Umer Marvi” to the young generations in a colourful and musical manner that inspired all and sundry with equally touching and full packed auditorium’s ambience. The event was a joint venture of Thespianz Theater and Pakistan American Cultural Centre to revive old art forms into new modern era. People from all walks of life came to witness this beautiful and melodious gala that depicted the folk culture and tales of Sindh and the Punjab. Many film and TV artists, media representative, civil society, government officers, parents and children were also present at the venue to admire the young artists. The commencement of the program included a welcome note by Cultural Director- PACC Mr. Nasir and introductory note by Thespianz Theater’s Artistic Director Faisal Malik. The selection of background music for the Kath Puli Performance was really marvelous and audience felt mesmerised with the Sufi numbers of Abida Parveen, Shafqat Amanat Ali and folk tunes of Noor Jahan and others. “Umer Marvi” was presented first and it was followed by the rustic tale of “Heer Ranjha” The costumes and appearance of the puppets was gorgeous and dandy. The Associate Director of the Show was Nouman Mahmood while Zain Ali, Talha Jamil, Azhar Ayub and Faraz Khan rendered their artistic service. In the end, The President of PACC Mr. Rafiq Tabbani presented the souvenir to Artistic Director Thespianz Theatre Faisal Malik and received the momentum from the latter. The Cultural Affairs Officer of US Consulate – Karachi Ms. Li Ping Lo specially attended the performance and received the momentum by the President of PACC.

According to Faisal Malik and his associate Director Nouman Mehmood, this show was particularly designed and developed for adult audience, the all back ground voices, sound tracks were specially maintained for adults. Although few kids were presented in the audience and enjoying the dancing and movements of the Kath Putlis, but there was no any stuff in Heer Ranjha and Umer Marvi for children, it was only for elder audiences.

Historically speaking, the Art of Puppetry dates back to the prehistory phases. There would not be any iota of exaggeration in terming this art as the oldest form of dramatic art, and it has been proved by the pictures and statues discovered in the excavation in Gandhara. According to some researchers, this tradition was in practice before the Aryans invaded the sub-continent. In Pakistan, the exact period of its origin cannot be determined. It has been there through centuries and has served as the carrier of influence of one culture on the other in between the regions.

Talking about the organized puppetry art in Pakistan, in the recent history and the recorded phase, we can safely refer to the efforts of Rafi Peer Theatre for widely and professionally introducing the modern concept for Puppetry and Arts, during early phases of the newly independent country. Mr Rafi Peer’s sons Faizan Peerzada, Usman Peerzada and their other siblings continued their father’s voyage and rendered their services for the development and promotion of this great genre of performing arts. Mr. Farooq Qaisar, a popular producer, director and compere of PTV, also played a vital role in developing the puppet art on modern lines and successfully took this art to PTV screen. His programs “Akar Bakar” and “Kalian” and Uncle “Sergam Shows” surely popularized this art amongst the masses of all ages, especially the children.