LAHORE - ‘Say no to corruption’ is the buzz these days. Every time you take money from an ATM machine. This message comes on the screen. After a hiatus of 18 years, Ajoka Theatre yesterday staged its satirical play ‘Bala King’ at Alhamra to highlight political corruption.

The play being produced in collaboration with Lahore Arts Council is an adaptation of German playwright Bertolt Brecht’s play titled “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui”, which is a satirical allegory of the rise of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party in Germany prior to the start of World War II.

The two-hour Punjabi language play is a reminder to Pakistani masses who elect their leaders and then are in turn exploited by them.

It revolves around the rise of fascism and Hitler in Germany in 1933 and about general elections when Hitler’s popularity reached at its peak. Right after winning the election Hitler came out to be different person and he started exploiting the people in the name of race and religion.

The play presented the story of Hitler as a symbol of political corruption, who after he became a powerful politician started looting and exploiting the people.

Hitler has been replaced with ‘Bala Pehalwan’ in the play which is written by Shahid Nadeem, while directed by Madeeha Gauhar. ‘Bala Pehalwan’ later changes his name to Bala King after winning the elections. His wish is to control people’s minds.

Ajoka Theatre CEO Shahid Nadeem told The Nation that the play is very relevant to contemporary Pakistan’s politics that revolve around accusations of looting money. The play would remind the public who whole-heartedly supported the politicians and then become the victims of their own choice, Nadeem said.

“This play also highlights the fact as to what kind of democracy we are living in. Where we have to use bribe in order to do any work,” he added.

On Thursday, Ajoka will mark the Urs celebrations of Sufi poet Baba Bulleh Shah by presenting its popular stage play ‘Bulha’ at Alhamra. The play is based on the events in the life of great mystic poet as communicated through his poetry, historical records and popular myths.

Bulleh Shah’s search for truth and devotion for his mentor Hazrat Shah Inayat, his opposition to the bloodshed in the name of the religion, all are incorporated as powerful scenes in the play.