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October 6, 2009

Flowing into the realm of calligraphy

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October 6, 2009

Karachi

Cultural exchanges are always a welcome sight in this entertainment-starved city. As such, it was a pleasant happening when the first cultural envoy in 30 years from the USA came to Karachi to collaborate with the Thespianz Theatre. The play, titled, “Water Calligraphy”, was staged at the PACC on Sunday and Monday evenings.

The envoy, Dr Kanta Kochhar-Lindgren, is an Associate Professor at the University of Washington and an expert in performing arts, dance, theatre, teaching studio classes, directing, and choreography. It was no surprise when the organisers announced that she had been handed the chair of director for the play and choreographing the dance sequences. She even wrote part of the story for the play.

The play, a dance theatre, was about the importance of water and our apathetic attitude towards this precious commodity. It integrated western singing and modern dancing with theatre.

The play started with a multitude of characters moving about the stage in premeditated paths. The Calligraphy Man was depicted as an old man who tries to do calligraphy on the ground using water. Aban and Bahaar are two close friends in search of something to do that would bring them the riches but they are often at odds with each other over the morality of their actions.

Abida and Mehreen are aunt and niece, who live in New York. They are infatuated with collecting junk and deciphering their stories. As much as this irks her aunt, Mehreen does what she wants. While deciding what to do with her junk and their stories, she dreams of the water going dry. This prompts her to call her friend Bahaar and Aban and urge them to do something to conserve water.

The cast included Osama Ghazai, Mehreen Hashmi, Qurut-ul-ain Shamim, Haseeb Aslam, Hamid Malik, Mudasir, Alamgir Khan and Zeeshan Hussain. Three dancers employed in the performance included Alamgir Khan, Arfeen Iqbal and Sikander while vocals for the accompanying songs were

provided by Shahzaib Waheed Khan.

Having just got into town nine days earlier, the lack of time for preparation and perhaps a language barrier between Dr Kochhar-Lindgren, the actors struggled with their speech and made it difficult to grasp the performance.