On 26th September 2019, the Khoka Natak team presented their second performance of the semester, an enactment of Bilal Hasan Minto’s short story “Āsīya”. The short-play dealt primarily with the themes of purdah, class, and respectability. The actors, undergraduate students at LUMS, were mostly female. Their nuanced acting drove home the significant questions raised by Minto’s story. Balancing both the humorous and emotional appeal of the original story, Mishal Niaz’s rendition of Appa Sughrañ drove the audience from laughter to quiet contemplation. While the play had many highlights, particularly riveting was the encounter between Fari and Pari (twin sisters played by Uswa Mahmood and Javeria Hasnain) and a well-intentioned schoolteacher (played by Aima Nisar). In this encounter, the schoolteacher stripped off Pari’s soiled burqa, leaving her feeling vulnerable and fearful of her mother’s backlash. Enacted in front of an audience that fully understood Pari’s situation, the moment found its impact.
Notably, Bilal Minto, who spoke at the Halqa-e-Danish lecture series earlier that evening, was also among the audience. After the performance, he spoke to Waqas Manzoor, curator of the Khoka Natak series, and expressed his appreciation for the performance as well as the overall work being done by Khokha Natak to bring street theatre to LUMS.
Khoka Natak will be returning with another performance in the month of October.