ISLAMABAD, Jul 23 (APP):Artists at Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) are busy in rehearsing for the upcoming stage play ‘Panja Shikanja’ a playful satire on the political history of Pakistan in the form of a high value contemporary theater.
Panja Shikanja is a fable woven around our socio-political-culture. It is about a dream, a joke and bizarre consequences. It is about a cat, five innocent kittens, a critical rooster, a philosopher dog, a compulsive dreamer, the ruthless King and all his men and above all it is about the lust for eternal control.
Some 60 artists including a Chinese artist are taking part in the play.
According to the plot, a cat gives birth to 5 kittens who starts chanting the slogan ‘Long Live the King’ as soon as they are born. The news of the miraculous kittens spread like wildfire and everybody starts claiming ownership of the kittens. However, the kittens are confiscated by the King who has been advised by his advisors to show the kittens to the world. So the miracle is witnessed by the entire world and the king can claim the kingdom of the entire world.
The king’s men organize a grand event, which is attended by the most important leaders of the world and transmitted live to the entire world. The king gladly shares the miraculous kittens with the world, however as soon as the kittens see the king, their slogan changes into ‘down with the king’
A horrible investigation takes place, the owner is badly tortured to uncover the plot, and finally, it turns out that the kittens had opened their eyes on the fifth day and the revelation turns into a rebellion against the king.
Jamal Shah, Director General PNCA who in addition to have scripted and directed the drama is also playing the leading role in the drama as Badshah Salamat,said that the play is hilariously funny complemented by interesting music, dances, dramatic sets, innovative costumes and special effects.
“PNCA is committed to theatrical entertainment in Islamabad by bringing together the best talent of stage in Pakistan” Jamal Shah, DG PNCA addded.
Ali Saleem, playing the role of Prime Minister ‘Wazir Khanum’ said that it’s basically a black political comedy representing an evil regime of the Past. It’s absolutely an amazing play. Since Islamabad is my hometown, I am thoroughly enjoying not only the environment but the energy of the team members as well. “I would give full marks to PNCA that over the last couple of years under the leadership of Jamal Shah it has reactivated the cultural activities and I would request the people of Islamabad that they should come and bring their friends to watch this interesting play.
Wang Shan who plays the role of a Chinese doll in the drama said that it is a great experience working with Pakistani artists who are extremely talented. They act naturally like they are born artists. Comparing Chinese theater with Pakistani theater, Ms. Shan said that Pakistani artists are more spontaneous-more dynamic while Chinese are more rigid culturally as they follow rules more strictly.
The story revolves around Bili (cat) and her five kittens which is played by Naeema Butt, a theater artists who also runs her own interactive theater ‘Pehlaaj’. Talking about her role, Naeema said her role depicts a mother who cannot depend her kids against the oppressive system. Since I run my theater company for the oppressed communities, I can easily connect with the role.
The performances are planned nationwide in the month of August and September this year.