Tag: theatre

“Suno” – Breaking Stereotypes About Mental Illness

The best thing about theatre is that it has a limited audience but all the more larger impact from powerful impact and message delivered from a small act. ‘Suno!’ is another strong act being performed at the Arts Council these days, which throws light on one of the most common issues of our society, depression and mental disturbance.
The Dawood Foundation in support with Taskeen [an initiative of the Pakistan Association for Mental Health (PAMH), Humanity Initiative and CareforHealth] have together presented this play for their audience which presses on the request to listen to the people with issues of such like, with patience, humility and eagerness to cure it.
Unfortunately our society doesn’t recognize mental illness in its first stage and when it does,  it’s treatment is considered a taboo by many, including the family itself.  People consider it a shame and often resort to sub standard ways to cure it which further aggravates the situation at times and instead of healing, the patient often goes more into seclusion then never. We forget that a family’s love and ability to just listen to his problems is itself the start of a cure.

The theatre is directed by film maker Hamza Bangash and had started showing at the council from the 27th of April till 30th.
The story is a real life inspiration enactment of a young boy with bipolar attitudes due to the daily chaos that went by in his family, his father’s rigid behaviour who could lash out one time and be all cheery the other. As the boy develops this attitude intensely and goes aloof from his friends and family, nobody realizes what’s going on and doesn’t want to listen to what he is trying to say.

An attempt on his life by himself, causes the family to shudder completely and as usual assistance from a psychiatrist was considered a shameful thing. After a lot of drama and substandard methods for treatment, he is finally sent to the rehab, which becomes a matter of embarrassment for the family, because sighs!  That’s what our society is like..

Overall the act was great, actors did their part powerfully, emotions were raised and a great message delivered but the storyline had jumps in it, like the opening act should have known more clearly why the boy started behaving the way he did, that would have set an intense image on the audience.
I believe families with such environments where daily arguments,  beatings are regular, it’s not just that sending the patient away to a rehab would be enough, the whole family needs to transform their behavior and inject love and respect in their house so the patient would heal naturally in such an environment.

Speaking about the initiative, Sabrina Dawood, CEO, The Dawood Foundation said: “Mental illness requires compassion, empathy and understanding. It is a human condition and requires us to be humane. It is not a condition from which only a few suffer. The trauma and violence that we as a society are enduring due to terrorism and natural disasters, are taking their toll. While the scars of the body are visible and heal; those in the mind remain unresolved and fester. It is for this reason that The Dawood Foundation believes it is crucial to support initiatives such as this, which reduce the amount of suffering caused by lack of knowledge.”

We need such initiatives and awareness programs for the betterment of our society. Situations around us are growing intense causing our minds to lose the composure, but we need to break from the clutter and sit down to atleast listen to the other persons problems and if need be, even consult therapy, which in no way is an act of shame, doesn’t mean you’re crazy, just that at times talking out loud about your problems can at times resolve the matter. Talking helps and we must listen!

#Siachen – On A Lighter Note

It’s difficult contemplating the life of a soldier fighting for their country’s pride at the borders. More so, if these borders are made of thick, jagged icy mountains, one can’t simply fathom the harshness of weather, mind boggling environment & tough climes that impacts largely on their bodies and minds. It’s not just about winning up there, its about SURVIVAL

Siachen the Play, written by Anwar Maqsood and directed by Dawar Mehmood revolves around the struggles of our brave soldiers through the tumultuous experience they undergo on the world’s highest battlefield – the Siachen glacier. Siachen is a controversial spot for both India & Pakistan, which serves as the Line of Control for troops posted on either side.


The show starts with an emotional touch taking the audience through the lives of various soldiers leaving for battle and the sentiments expressed by their families. Later the show took on a comical shape, with witty & sarcastic comments being exchanged between the Pakistani and Indian troops, whom they could apparently hear from the other side of the mountain (ha ha)

It was a depiction of how every minute and hour feels so long up there and how they endure it. It’s not a 24-7 active war, so what do these guys do, when they are not shooting bullets? Well, they sing, pull each others legs, break down into tears, fight, quarrel with each other over small things, play ludo, strive with the cold, keep animals etc etc etc

The play was more tilted towards the witty side, hence the courageous battle feel of the play was kind of missing, but then again I feel it’s alright since the purpose behind it was to make the audience laugh and sort of connect with the sarcasm being passed on to the running governments. Siachen and its associated passion to win for the motherland and keeping its flag hoisted high came much in the end, which was quite touching as well. Also, there are certain confidential details to this ongoing war in reality that obviously can not be exposed in a play to audiences hence the sardonic side was dominant.

However, I feel, the patriotism could have been given more lines and space in the story somehow and it could have been delivered in the scenes with a lot mor depth but over all, I was thoroughly entertained which was the primary focus of the show. The entire cast had been prepared with a lot of effort by actually being sent to the military academies for training so they could look and exhibit like a real soldier. (hats off)

Cherry on the top was the beat boxing round, where all the actors played the National Anthem by creating music from their mouths and other props available. Truly commendable.

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They will be performing till the 28th of Feb in Karachi and have already performed in numerous cities. You can click here for updates on their next show and book your tickets NOW!

English Biscuit Manufacturers (Peak Freans Sooper & Naan Khatai)  were the prime sponsors and supporters for Siachen – the play. 

Thankyou EBM!