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Aamad Festival starts at National College of Arts Rawalpindi

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Aamad Festival starts at National College of Arts Rawalpindi
« on: October 17, 2009, 03:08:23 PM »
Aamad Festival starts at National College of Arts Rawalpindi

Rawalpindi:‘Aamad Festival’ at the National College of Arts (NCA) is a celebration of improvisational theatre, which is one of the primary techniques in theatre practice that challenges performers’ imagination, spontaneity and ensemble work.

The festival features two events, ‘The Challenge’ that was held on Thursday night. It was a competition between selected theatre troupes from Rawalpindi and Islamabad who created short unscripted extemporaneous scenes out of a few hints and guesses. These groups included ‘Party Quirks,’ ‘Vaylae Mushtandae,’ ‘The ‘Unknowns’ and ‘Dimagh ki Lassi’. For many of these performers, their exposure to improvised theatre was new.

The competition was set in a modest stage design by Fatima Hussain, who has created an intimate studio space in the Liaquat Hall. The groups were given different situations on which the characters competed with each other, performing with the props, creating spontaneous humour and depicting the pictures and generating instant dialogues on given situations.

Department of Theatre Head Associate Professor Claire Pamment introduced the judges to the audience. Judges of the competition included renowned puppeteer Farooq Qaiser, poet, playwright and director Sarmad Sehbai and one of the leading stars of the popular stage Babu Baral, who is known for his brilliant improvisations.

‘Damagh ki Lassi’, which were the winners of the competition, would spend the weekend working with Babu Baral and NCA faculty in creating short pieces for performance. These short performances will be showcased in a programme titled ‘Kuch Kaho’ to a public audience on Monday, October 19, at 7 p.m. It will be followed by a public discussion on the art of improvisation through the life and work of Babu Baral, chaired by Sarmad Sehbai.

‘Aamad’ is one of many outreach activities the Department of Theatre has been conducting over last two years at the NCA based in Rawalpindi at the Liaquat Hall Complex.

These activities have invited theatre practitioners, groups and young aspiring performers to participate in performances, discussion program, workshops and conferences, generating public theatre awareness. In January 2010 NCA will begin its regular BA Theatre Degree programme, for which admissions will be open in the next month.

Giving the background of the improvisation, Associate Professor Head Department of Theatre Claire Pamment said that in the 1960s and 70s improvisation began to enter the Pakistan Arts Council through performers from the dwindling folk theatres and local city circuits.

These improvisations began to re-interpret the European style drawing room comedies in form and content, and gained popularity. In the 1980s the popular improvised comedy on the urban stage began to flourish in the Arts Councils — a return of the primary sources of inspiration in theatre arts.