Between the societal and the personal.

KARACHI -- Chilean writer Ariel Dorfman is best known for his play Death and the Maiden adapted into a film by Roman Polanski in 1994. Before we discuss the National Academy of Performing Arts' (Napa) latest offering, an Urdu adaptation of Dorfman's Reader directed by - now a seasoned theatre practitioner - Sunil Shankar, a few well documented things must be kept in mind.

Born in Argentina, the author in the early 1970s worked in Chile's socialist administration, which was toppled in a coup by General Augusto Pinochet. As a result, he went into exile in the US. After that, and post-Pinochet, it was a pretty troublesome period for his country and his writings often depict the state-versus-man tussle but with a slightly different angle. He has been quoted to have said, 'Politics in my work is not merely a matter of the state doing terrible things to people, it's people doing terrible things.'

Reader is an effort in a similar vein which, by the way, is not truly representative of his literary prowess. So it is brave of Shankar to pick that piece.

Urdu adaptation of Reader being run at Napa till 27th

The central character in the story is played by Fawad Khan, who is a staunch believer in the incorruptibility of the written word that he peruses as his duty. When the curtains go up, metaphorically speaking, he is with his coquettish colleague (Bazelah Mustafa). He receives the manuscript of a novel which perturbs him. It actually tells the story of his own life.

During the course of the action, the characters around him, such as his son (Hasan Raza), wife (Kulsoom Aftab) and a government functionary known as Director (Osama Tahir) interchange...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT