Khokha Natak Enacts “bandar wālā” by Ghulam Abbas
For its penultimate performance of the semester, team Khokha Natak presented a two-act enactment of “bandar wālā ” by Ghulam Abbas. Waqas Manzoor, curator of the Khoka Natak series, elaborated that he chose this text due to its subtle depiction of the strains in a parent-child relationship. He said that it was “a depiction of how parents want to impose their own wishes on children.” The first act of the performance featured a drawing room conversation between the narrator and Mr and Mrs.Shah, during which the latter kept asking their eight year old son to perform party tricks for the narrator. This was mirrored by the second act in which a monkey (played by Maroof Taj) performed to the commands of a Madāri (puppeteer) . The cast included Shayan Ahmed as Mr. Shah, Wajiha Saqib as Mrs. Shah, Huzaifa Farrukh as the Narrator, and Waqas Manzoor as the Madāri. Maroof Taj played both the role of the eight year old son of the Shah’s and the performing bandar.
Maroof Taj’s enactment of a performing monkey was the focal point of the performance. In the second act he donned a monkey’s mask and a rope to be held by the Madāri. He placed himself on all four limbs and situated himself close to the audience. Waqas Manzoor then delivered commands for the monkey in loud and clear punjabi, while addressing the audience as spectators of a real animal performance. He engaged the audience by telling them to clap and encourage the ‘monkey’ to perform for them. In his lively enactment of the monkey, Maroof Taj sat, stood, scampered, played ‘dead’, prostrated and rose on his ‘hind-limbs’ to the sound of the Madāri’s ringing bell.