Lahore is known to be a city that appreciates theatre. From political comedies to serious drama, the city has seen its fair share of theatrical performances over the years. It does, however, seem like the trend has somewhat died down over the past few years. While there have been many popular Urdu plays including the ever so popular ‘Dharna’ by Anwar Maqsood, the city hasn’t seen many English plays. Lahore started witnessing English plays in the 1990s when Shah Sharabeel started directing plays in the city, casting university students in them.
Recently, students of Bloomfield Hall School presented a refreshing comedy on its 32nd birthday, written by Alan Ayckbourn, The Jollies. The play revolved around the lives of a mother, a son and a daughter who go to see a magic show and get caught in a terrible situation afterwards. The magic trick gone awry birthday party causes the girl’s brother, Billy, to age 25 years, and her mother, Jilly, to become 25 years younger.
The old Billy, played by an A Levels maths teacher Adeel Mowahid stole the show with his brilliant acting. Equally appreciated was the roles of Hufsa, Alishba and Anaya Agha who played the the sister who was also the narrator and managed to successfully keep the whole play glued together. The audience were in for a surprise at the end of the show when it was revealed that the younger mother was in fact played by two girls, Alishba and Anaya Agha, who are identical twins.
Directed by Umer Naru and Angela Williams who has also played a part in the film ‘Khuda Ke Liye’, this play was a display of perfect coordination between the backstage and onstage members of the team. Speaking to The Nation, she said, "I am so incredibly proud of the performance of our students (and of course, Mr. Adeel our awesome A level Maths teacher). They all put their hearts and souls into the play and it showed! Our backstage crew were responsible and disciplined and the audience responsive and super appreciative! What a memorable evening we had on the 32nd birthday of Bloomfield Hall. It will go down in our school's history as one of our greatest! I would like to thank everyone."
Particularly surprising was the fact that children as young as 11 were part of the play and managed to do justice to the parts given to them. The fact that the Pakistani youth is extremely talented was thus highlighted through this effort.
In a country where schools are targeted by extremists and getting an education alone can become dangerous, such efforts by schools are needed to bring back the hope that the country has a bright future if everyone works towards it.