Staging a play in the theater realm of Lahore is anything but easy.
It involves a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears.
Date Night is the latest play to have its due at the prestigious Alhamra Arts Council. We visited the cast amidst all the hustle and bustle of rehearsals to get a behind the scenes peek into what it takes to stage a play in Lahore.
“People in Lahore don’t have the stamina for such a long performance so we have to do it according to each city.”
While speaking with MangoBaaz, the director of the play Dawar Lashari, said that Islamabad’s audience, would have thought this play, which has a run time of about 90 minutes, is far too short. “It takes a lot to stage a play here. You need to believe in yourself”, says Dawar.
“You need sponsors, marketing and a lot of permission to get on board. They have to all be on board. It’s hard because stage drama is all they relate to. Good, commercial performances are out of peoples’ minds.
After Alhamra’s roof fell, we wanted to be the first people to stage a commercial play here after it got redone.”
We’ve been rehearsing endlessly every day for four to five hours, for more than a month.
“All actors went through excessive cramps because that’s what farce is about. The actors’ voices broke too – it wasn’t easy at all,” shares Dawar.
“It’s a farce musical comedy and it was adapted on stage for keeping in mind the Lahori audience. It’s a contemporary play with English songs we’ve adapted into a quick comical farce. You’ll have giggles throughout the entire show, I can guarantee it!”
We’ve got the best five actors in Lahore and the sole purpose of this play is entertainment.
“Creating comedy on stage was what I wanted to do. That’s what farce is all about – the audience know the joke but the actors don’t. People are frustrated in Lahore about a lot of things, and we want to be the source of relief for one and a half hour, ” says Dawar while pondering about doing a play at a time when the city of Lahore has recently been rattled because of the security situation.
“Theatre exercises were done extensively every single day. They really worked so hard. The actors have given it their all.”
“Our female actors have their college thesis coming up too, and they’re still working hard all day every day,” says Dawar.
“We’ve been working on this play since 2015, building the team, refining the idea and everything”
One of the lead actors, Shah Fahad, shared his enthusiasm about the play when speaking to MangoBaaz, “It’s a typical farce with a lot of comedy. Dawar and his brother took initiative through Luxus. The plan is to have a series of plays after this one.
So in Date Night, we have couples having affairs in adjacent rooms not knowing their spouses are doing the same thing. We’ve got music and dance too to cater to the entertainment factor.
“There’s hardly any Lahore based company with such professionalism. Total it with expenditure and the extent of production, you have a very well publicized play.”
“It’s very challenging in Lahore because the corporate sector hesitates to support you, and the audiences hesitate to go into a play and spend money on it – free mein tho har koi ponch jaye ga.”
The story is quite raw in that sense – the farce is very controversial. The value of this production is the entertainment value
We’ve given our own twist to our characters. It’s been a pleasure working with them. Very well executed.
Lahori theatre culture doesn’t really support commercial plays; it’s all about taking chances.”
“It took a lot of time, but we made it.”
If you’re looking to catch the play, it’s on at Alhamara Cultural Complex in Lahore starting tonight.
Cover image via: Luxus Grand