Play Apt #746: To watch or not to watch?
There’s a vacuum in the theatre industry of Pakistan, very few and a handful groups are trying to bring it back to the position where it used to be back in 80’s and early 90’s.
With NAPA, Arts Council and NCA we get a chance to witness and experience some interesting, theatres. Recently Stage Nomad Productions has come out with Apartment #746 (aka Apt #746) and we must say this play has a lot to offer.
The story of the play is about two main character Abbas (Muneeb) and Amna (Fajar) who are in love with one another and wants to get married but Amna’s father (Talal Jillani), who is also the writer of the play, wants something else for his daughter. He is a retired Army officer and a man of principles, he wants his daughter to marry a guy who has a secured and sound future along with impressive financial stability; and Abbas doesn’t even come close to that sketch as he is a struggling artist.
Abbas gets the opportunity of his life when a rich Sheikh (a potential client) agrees to pay him a visit to go through his art collection and to impress him, Abbas’s girlfriend redecorates his house by bringing the furniture, art pieces and paintings from his friend Zaaviar’s (Faraz) house, as he’s out of the city and no one would know about this. At the same day, Amna’s father calls her and tells her that he wants to meet Abbas and he’d like to come over to his place.
What happens next is the comedy of errors which includes unannounced arrival of Shakeela (Zarka), common friend-cum-neighbor of Abbas and Zaaviar, along with Zaaviar himself.
All this gets even interesting when Abbas’s ex-girlfriend Zara (Sabiha) visits him. Apt #746 is entertaining with loads of punches which are very Karachi-centric.
Muneeb, the main protagonist acts well and is spontaneous; he his quite capable of using the entire stage with proficiency and whether he has his lines or not he makes sure to engage audience with his presence by staying in the character.
Talal Jillani (the writer and the Army officer) is convincing, with multiple shades in his performance, from a concerned father to a man of principles and a typical man who leaves no chance to woo a woman if he gets the “line”.
Direction by Messam Naqvi is good; the set is pretty decent as well. Although the script is good but it’s more targeted towards the masses. Jokes will definitely take you back to your school and college days, as most of the punchlines are what any Karachiite can easily relate with.
For those who look forward to a “decent” and family-oriented theatre with aesthetics and poetic lines, Apt #746 might just be a time-pass.