Islamabad - The Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) enthralled the audience with the performance of Azad Theatre Group based on the poetry of Madhu Lal Shah Hussain on Friday.

The devoted artistes of Lahore-based Azad Theatre Group performed plays as a part of the 12th National Theatre Festival; the largest ever festival being organised in the country to mark the 70th anniversary of the Pakistan Independence.

The play ‘Hussain – the weaver’ reflected the ironic social and religious differences based on the discriminatory practices by the influential.

Written by Shabir Ji and directed by Malik Aslam, the play was a precise production enriched with all the ingredients of a good theatre. The script, content delivery, performance all managed to impress while the sound effects and designed lights were also top-notch.

The Sufi singer and actor, Sarfaraz Ansari, played the role of Shah Hussain, a messenger of peace and harmony, in a very realistic manner and brought the character to life.

The singer also composed the music of the play that turned out to be the backbone of the story.

The folk singer Faiz Ali Chishti mesmerised the audience with his singing potential. The other cast included  Zohaib Haider (Dullah Bhatti), Naina Baloch (Ladhi), Waseem Ali (Akbar Badshah), Nadeem Abbas (Bahlool Dayai), and Aliya Abbasi as raavi , the narrator of the story. The versatile Nadeem Abbas designed the costumes, choreographed the dances and also performed a dance.

Social insensitivities were highlighted in two plays ‘akhiyan waleo’ and ‘mein, tum aur hum’, staged at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) on Wednesday night. Written and directed by Walliam Pervaiz, ‘Akhiyan Waleo’ reflected the miseries of the general public being caused by the insensitivity of the so-called political and religious leadership towards solving the problems of a common man.

Based on the philosophical poetry of great Sufi Bulleh Shah, the aim of the play was to reveal the double standards in society and the motive of people behind their good deeds.

The metaphor of removing a stone from the centre of a road was a theme in one of the plays. The theme represented the conflict among the social and religious leaders. Each power structure wanted the credit of removing the stone to earn political mileage, without concern for benefiting the people. In the play, the stone was eventually removed by three blind persons.

The play also highlighted the marginalised role of women in the domestic and social affairs. It raised questions about lack of women’s role in decision making at home and at community level even though they are equal partners in life.

The cast included Batin Farooqi, Faqeer Hussain, Zabir sarhadi, Javed Ali Sajid, Shahzad Mughal, Ali Shan, Waqar Wikki, Shahzad Pappu, Rizwana Khan, Reeha Yousaf, and Sajid Sajju Baba.

Written and directed by Yaar Muhammad, ‘Mein, tum aur Hum’ was another routine play based on the theme of terrorism. It showed how people’s homes are uprooted when they lose their dear ones. Starring in the play were Masood Khawaja, Jhalak Ali, Sapna Shah, Hameed Babar, Shagufta Qureshi, Anjum Abbasi, Ali Zeb, Saeed Anwar, and Dildar Khan.