Stories On A Ship: Light on the drawbacks of social norms!

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Stories on a Ship
Stories on a Ship

Review written by Shahab Khalil.

Directed by and starring Hassan Raza, Gulshan Majeed’s play was brought to life with an incredible ensemble of performers!

The plot follows the lives of individuals who’re coincidentally traveling together on a ship. As the play progresses the audience learns about the discourse of the personality of different characters as punctuated by earlier events in their lives.

Stories on a Ship
Stories on a Ship

At times heavily stereotyped for theatrical appeal, the characters are written almost for an unintelligent audience unwilling to look past social conventions. However, as the play progresses the embodiment of these personalities by their respective performers is what makes this a winning show.

Starring: Hafsa Haq, Hassan Raza, Saad Nasir, Kazim Javed, Nasir Mazari, Mahnoor Shahbaz, Merium Yousaf, Saud Manzoor, Gohar Imran, Waqar Ali, Bilal Habib and Gulshan Majeed as the main cast, the play ran for a year before putting forth their final performance in March.

Stories on a Ship
Hassan Raza, the director of ‘Stories on a Ship’.

The selection of music, and technical queues on top of the bravo performances catapulted the play to that of beyond the realm of a university production.

The amazing production & Technical team included Shahrukh Sarfraz, Hooria Tauseef, Ramis Hussain, Sheza Shahid Qureshi, Anam Mukhtar and Ali Noor.

Stories on a Ship
Cast and crew of ‘Stories on a Ship’.

Classical violin piece Vivaldi winter highlighted the climax of the production, was a perfect addition to the scene. The use of evocative lighting needs to be applauded for being innovative.

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Every actor outshined in his/her role whether it was the patriotic role of Col. Sikander by Waqar Ali or the artistic portrayal of the Painter by Saud Manzoor but one character that gave an immortalized performance was the Bully played by Saad Nasir who without shadow of a doubt stole the show!

Stories on a Ship
Saad Nasir became the favorite of audience.

The characters on occasion broke into monologues to narrate for themselves to describe the origins of their personality. This formula was applied to all of the characters except that of the writer, portrayed by Kazim Javed and Nasir Mazari.

Stories on a Ship
Kazim Javed and Hafsa Haq.

It was revealed towards the end of the play that all the characters on board were the figments of imagination of the writer, who had been writing them down and one point imagined to be overpowered by their presence.

Stories on a Ship
Stories on a Ship

This key plot point was theatrically enhanced upon by some very well thought out blocking, as the characters mirror the fate of the papers upon which they were written. The attention to theatrical detail in the form of clockwork like synchronization is to the credit of the director, as towards the end of the play the characters mime out their fate of being burnt like stories on a piece of paper.

Stories on a Ship
Kazim Javed burning his story.

The abstract idea was in line with the set design which was kept minimal, except for the placement of a handful of props to add to compliment the characters. The focus was all on the performance. This technique was applauded by the audience as one of the audience members told Cambiar news:

‘It’s amazing how the director has pulled off a play of such immense insight and intensity while retaining a minimalistic approach, kudos’

The show received standing ovation on all of its performances and has won 23 awards in the theater circuit around the country including winning best play IBA THEATRON, PIEAS NUKTA and many more!

Director Hassan Raza and writer Gulshan Majeed told Cambiar News that they have future plans of putting forth productions on a larger scale!

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