THEATRE REVIEW: The Father – What The Upcut saw and observed

The Young Directors’ Festival at the National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) has provided a platform to young actors, writers and directors to showcase their skills.

On Monday, the festival presented its last play The Father, written by August Strindberg in 1887.

Directed by Kiran Siddiqui, the cast includes Farhan Alam Siddiqui, Bazelah Mustafa, Kainat Muhammad, Nafees, Zohair Zubair, Ahad Touqeer, and Hassam Irfan.

Before the last show, a review of its first performance from a critique’s eye is presented to the audience.

A still from the play – The Father

Spot on Art Direction

Interestingly, the director played the role of the Art Director as well and did it with sheer perfection. The Mise-en-scène of an 1887 house in Berlin captivates the attention as the production design team made sure to leave no stone unturned regarding props, costumes, and stage set.

A well-played protagonist and antagonist

The lead cast Farhan Alam Siddiqui as Captain Adolf (protagonist), and Bazelah Mustafa as Lara Adolf (antagonist), lived up to the viewers’ expectations.

Mr Adolf is a curve character with multiple layers in his personality. Farhan pulled off the role brilliantly and left no room for criticism.

On the other hand, the cunning features of Mrs Lara got her life from Bazelah on stage. The actress slickly played one of the trickiest characters of theatre.

Another character that deserves appreciation was Margret played by Kainat Muhammad. Playing an old age person is a challenge for every actor at any stage, but Kainat had the ability to accept the skin of the character. Nafees as Bertha also showed positive signs of a potential actor.

Glaring signs of potential Director

Cheering for a play after its climax is a ritual followed by everyone, regardless of how good or bad the director has executed the show.

However, Kiran Siddiqui certainly deserves the applause and the standing ovation she received. In a swamp of theatre directors who take plays based on the commercial element more seriously, Kiran was brave enough to accept the responsibility of a classic by Strindberg.

There were a few moments where the execution felt weak, and attention-to-detail appeared to be missing. But at the end of the day, a cluster of strong sequences overshadowed the tiny shortcomings that could have occurred in any live theatre performance.

The underwhelming aspects

Despite having a talented supporting cast of Zohair Zubair (Pastor John), Ahad Touqeer (Dr Osternmark), and Hassan Irfan (Nojd), the actors were not used to their full potential. The play started with promising dark comedy moments, which gradually faded and could have been revived using these three actors.

The prolonged monologues between the lead cast may have backfired which, at times, resulted in The Father losing some of its audience.

The play dropped the rule of ‘Show Don’t Tell’ when it approached the interval and thankfully picked it up in Act 3. Despite the aforementioned shortcomings, one feels that Kiran Siddiqui and her team have the chops to overcome these issues very quickly.

A still from the play – The Father

The Scoreboard

Direction: 4.5/5

Production Design: 4.5/5

Public Engagement: 4/5

Execution: 3.8/5

Acting: 4.5/5

Overall Rating: 4.2/5

The Verdict: A must-watch theatre performance.

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