Of thrills & laughter

December 5, 2017
By M. Shirazi

“Theatre is immediate, it’s alive, you’re there with the audience, it can’t be done again and again and again, it’s organic.” - Kim Cattrall


“Theatre is immediate, it’s alive, you’re there with the audience, it can’t be done again and again and again, it’s organic.” - Kim Cattrall

Amongst all art forms theatre is the most direct human form of expression and plays a very important and impactful role not only for individuals but communities as well. Theatre has been alive for more than 2500 years; and it is basically a legacy and will continue to live on no matter how many times it’s altered.

In the recent times, the theatre scene has been revived in Pakistan. Thanks to the theatre companies and dedicated artists who through their powerful live performances portray the diversity of art on stage. And in a bid to celebrate diversity on stage, Nida Butt has been producing and directing successful musical plays including Chicago, Mamma Mia, Karachi - The Musical, Carnage, Grease - The Musical since 2006.

The multiple award-winning show director, producer, choreographer and human rights lawyer, Butt is back with a bang with her theatre play, ‘The 39 Steps’ which will be running till December 10, 2017 at Karachi Arts Council. Produced by Made for Stage Productions, the play is a spoof of the popular Alfred Hitchcock film of the same name. However, unlike all Butt’s previous productions, this theatrical play is not a musical - it is a spy thriller/comedy set in 1930s, England.

The drama cast includes Sanam Saeed, Faraz Lodhi, Mohammad Ali Hashmi and Zeeshan. The four actors are portraying around 45 characters. Saeed plays the roles of a German spy Annabella, British blonde Pamela and country belle Margaret while Faraz Lodhi plays the part of Richard Hannay, British traveller on the run to prove his innocence; Zeeshan Shah and Ali Hashmi play over a dozen roles each. The play follows an adventure story and is very minimal with no sets, no singing, dancing or orchestra, unlike most of Nida Butt’s past productions. According to Butt, the story follows a notorious fugitive and a spellbound blonde from a London music hall north by northwest to Scotland’s remote highlands on a quest to save Britain from a den of devious spies. The 39 Steps is an Olivier Award-winning play that has been staged on Broadway and was the 5th longest-running play in London’s West End. It’s a raucous comedy with lightning-fast costume and character changes.

Nida Butt’s spoof of the play was premiered on November 26, 2017. Moreover, Friends of Hunar Foundation, a non profit organization, hosted a Donor Appreciation Night featuring ‘The 39 Steps’, on November 27, 2017 at the Karachi Arts Council. The play is still on and getting mixed reviews.

- M.Shirazi