In the process of reviving English drama, the dramatics club of Government College University presented its second English play this year after Life of Galileo staged in 2017. This time, the play was an adaptation of one of Agatha Christie’s mystery novels, And Then There Were None. Since Agatha Christie is a name not unknown to anyone owing to her prolific work in the genre of mystery, it was a huge responsibility on the part of GCDC’s team to present the play, which it succeeded in doing in a convincing manner.
Staged on the 25th, 26th and 27th of April, this specific adaptation was directed by Irfan Randhawa, a professor of English at the university with his area of expertise also being drama. He was assisted in the direction by Ali Nawaz, a student of English Literature, the president of the dramatics club for the year 2018, and one of the leading actors of the play as well. The other cast members were H M Najam us Saqib, Eesha Razia, H M Rahat-ul-Ain, Daud Khan, Javairia Naeem, Afaq Imran, Sheryar Sheikh, Maham Ahmad, Huzaifa Ali and Shayan Abdullah, all of whom did justice to their roles and made themselves stand out from each other as far as the richness, body language and traits in their characters were concerned.
The audience was most impressed by the classy setting reflecting sober colours present in the delicate, brown hued wallpapers with intricate golden patterns on them, rendered all the more captivating by lit candles placed in dainty stands. The person behind this aesthetically pleasing set was Amna Anwar Khan, a professor of Fine Arts at the university, assisted by Ijaz Faiz, Atif Kamal, Sheryar Sheikh, Hamza Saleem and Mahrukh Nishat, who also is the adviser of the university’s English Literary Circle and serves as a teacher as well with her area being Postcolonial Literature. The backdrops were painted by Hifza Fareed, Shaigan Sharif, Sitara, Saif and Azka. The set was erected by Haji Shams, Amir Shams and Ahmad, who own Mistry Jaan & Sons, a company that has been serving the dramatics club of GCU for more than hundred years. The costumes were prepared by Dr Sobia Mubarak, a PhD in English Literature with her research work focusing on theatre both in India and Pakistan. She was assisted by Amna Azmat and Muqanza Ubaid. Mahnoor Ajmal and Irtiza Aslam were the light controllers, the latter also being the production manager. The stills were captured by Aown A Raja and Basir Ghaus.
Backstage control was in the hands of Atif Kamal while Seemab Shafiq was the ticket manager.
A huge crowd of people was managed by Haroon Azam, Hafiz Haad, Zayan Fatima, Sherill Harry, Hamza Ghayyur, Seemab Shafique, Nadia, Talha Shahab, Taseer Fatima, Maheen Khan, Mehram Zain and Zoha Shehzad.
The patron of GCU Dramatics Club, who not only chooses the works to be enacted but does hard work on them in order to adapt them realistically is Mirza Ather Baig, a man one can fully trust when it comes to the genre of drama, for Mirza Sahib has written popular drama serials for Pakistan Television such as Doosra Asmaan and Hisaar. He also has Urdu language novels to his name and acts as the head of the department of Philosophy of GCU.
While Life of Galileo which was enacted last year was serious throughout owing to its sensitive theme oscillating between religion and science, And Then There Were None provided comic reliefs in the form of many characters, such as those of William Blore, a chubby man for whom food in the priority in any situation, Anthony Marston, a flirtatious man and Miss Emily Brent, whose conservative and rigid beliefs become a subject of mockery in the modern times. But what kept the audience hooked till the last moment was the highly intriguing storyline incorporating unpredictable twists and interesting dialogues.
On the whole, And Then There Were None turned out to be a complete package for the viewers owing to its intriguing story, excellent performances, fascinating effects of light and a beautiful set that won the hearts of the audience. It turned to a be a step forward in the revival that has begun in GCU’s dramatics club, that of enacting English plays after eight consecutive years of staging classical Urdu language plays.