On September 19, 2019 the third round of Khokha Natak began with a performance titled "charpaʼi aur culture". The street theatre series has been running for two semesters and always takes place at the Khokha, a popular gathering spot for students. Its short plays are organized and directed by Waqas Manzoor, a graduate student at LUMS.“The third series is unique in itself,” Waqas said, “because it will dedicate performances to deceased urdu authors on their birthdays or death anniversaries.” He went on to say that the series will also introduce its audience to some contemporary writers “who are producing masterpieces which should be shared with a larger audience.” After this short address by Waqas, the performance began.
An enactment of Mushtaq Ahmed Yusufi’s short story by the same name, charpaʼi aur culture was a humorous performance that generated frequent peals of laughter from the audience. Mushtaq Ahmed Yusufi was played by Jawad Ghulam, who narrated the story while also enacting its events. His emphatic oration and lively acting brought the hilarity of the story to life. Equally enjoyable were the performances of Nida Hassan as Mirza, Hammad Bilal as Manto, and Javeria Hasnain as Mirza’s daughter. The actors were able to capture the essence of a bustling household while using only one central prop: a makeshift charpaʼi created by joining tables together. This charpaʼi was upturned, turned into a ladder, and fought over to demonstrate its many uses and misuses in a traditional Pakistani household.
The fact that the team managed to put on an engaging and hilarious performance without the use of specialized equipment or an elaborate set demonstrates the immense potential of street theater. The Khokha Natak team will present four more performances during the course of the fall semester.