Vice Chancellor - Prof. Dr. Hassan Amir Shah, Sitara-i-Imtiaz

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GCU Dramatics Club, News & Events



GCUDC stages Life of Galileo


The Dramatics Club of Government College University Lahore (GCUDC) this year presented Brecht’s play “Life of Galileo” at the University’s Bukhari stage, which met with a loud applause by the city’s literati, Old Ravians, students and faculty members. The action of the play, directed by GCUDC President Mariam Hassan Naqvi under the guidance of eminent philosopher Prof Mirza Ather Baig, follows the career of the Italian philosopher Galileo Galilei who is tried by the Roman Catholic Church for the promulgation of his scientific discoveries.


You will see Galileo, played by Muhammad Najb ul Saqib, like you’ve never seen him, it is going to be Life of Galileo retold,” said GCUDC Advisor Scripts Dr Sobia Mubarik Durani while talking about the play. The background music and special lighting effects by Arqam bin Tahir, Hassan Dahir, Mian Farhan and Mahnoor Malik makes the two-hour more play interesting than ever before.


The GC University Lahore Dramatics Club stages English play “Life of Galileo”.


Prof Baig, the writer of famous novel Ghulam Bagh, said everybody knows about Galileo’s life but their play focuses the strangest of the questions that how great conflicts of ideas, sometimes quite complex and technical from Copernican theory to the theory of Big Bang, come to work out, from moment to moment in the flesh and blood life world of human protagonists? How the agony of conflict and the ecstasy of discovery come face to face with the euphoria of acceptance and applause and the horror of torture. It is here that Bertolt Brecht's master piece 'The life of Galileo' or simply 'Galileo Galili emerges as an act of great literary genius, fusing the facticity of history with the immanence of existence, he said. Prof Baig said that the play explores not only the convoluted psychodynamics of reason and faith in history but also at a different plane tries to deconstruct the very idea of a hero. At a certain juncture of events in Bechet's play Andrea, a lifelong pupil of Galileo, (played by Amar Taj) laments: "Unhappy is the land that breeds no hero'' Galileo answers, “No Andrea, Unhappy is the land that needs a hero.” For us, Prof Mirza Ather Baig, said in an academic institution like GCU with its strong interdisciplinary leanings these are some of the most difficult questions of great importance; who is right and who is wrong, or perhaps both are right: How to decide?   


Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Hassan Amir Shah welcomed the revival of GC's age old tradition of staging intellectually stimulating English plays, saying that theatre was not only meant for entertainment, rather it had more important function i.e. to reform the society. He hoped all universities should play vital role for reviving culture of quality theatre in the country. The GC Dramatics Club was established in 1890’s during the tenure of Prof Bell as Principal of the College. In that period, the Club mostly staged scenes from Shakespearian plays. Gradually, it came into its own and produced legendary thespians and playwrights like Rafi Peer, Imtiaz Ali Taj, Zia Mohyeuddin, Shoaib Hashmi, Naeem Tahir, Qayum Jojo, Asghar Nadeem Syed, among others. Punjab Governor Malik Muhammad Rafique Rajwana is also scheduled to watch the play this weekend.


The cast of the play also includes Shehar Bano, Abdullah Mohsin, Rahat ul Ain, Ali Nawaz, Eesha Raazia, Raiz Umer, Umair Khan, Amna Azamt, Hassan Firdous, Waqas Khan, Shahrukh Baig, Afaq Imran, Javaidan and Salman Sikander. 




Punjabi play Anni Maee Da Sufna staged at GCU

The Ajoka theatre staged its Punjabi play ANNI MAEE DA SUFNA (dream of a blind woman) at the Government College University Lahore Bukhari Auditorium in collaboration with the University’s Dramatics Club. Written by Old Ravian Shahid Mehmood Nadeem, the play explored the human dimension of partition underscoring the anguish of those who kept the fond memories of their past alive. It highlighted that the partition of the Subcontinent left behind it a long trail of conflicting narratives marked with blood, tears and/or faded smiles. Directed by another old Ravian Madeeha Gohar, the play was enacted by a galaxy of talented actors from the age group of 20's to 80's. The play was punctuated with apt verses of Punjabi Sufi poets which highlighted the great humanizing agent i.e. love. GCU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Hassan Amir Shah also watched the play and appreciated the hard work of young artists.  Speaking on the occasion, the oldest living Ravian actor, Arshad Sahab, who played Dada Ge in the play, recalled his mentor Safdar Mir who had inculcated in him the love of theatre back in 1953 when he was a young student of GC.

The characters are performing allotted role during the play ANNI MAEE DA SUFNA (dream of a blind woman)




GCUDC wins Drama Competition


The Government College University Lahore Dramatics Club has won the three distinctions including the ‘Best Play Award’ at the All Pakistan Drama Competition 2016 titled ‘NUKTA’. As many as 21 universities from all across Pakistan participated in the competition organised by the Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS), Islamabad.  GCU student Mariam Hassan Naqvi received the title of the best female actor while GCUDC was also awarded the Best Direction Award. Ali Nawaz, Jazib Akram, Mariam Hassan Naqvi, Habeeb ur Rehman, Shahrukh were the members of the award winning team. Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Hassan Amir Shah congratulated the GCUDC team members on their extraordinary performance at the PIEAS competition.


 Members of the award winning team pose for a group

photo with the Vice Chancellor GCU





GCU stages Urdu adaptation of Macbeth to celebrate Shakespeare


The Government College University Lahore Dramatics Club (GCDC) has staged “Raees”, an Urdu adaptation of William Shakespeare’s famous tragedy Macbeth, to mark the 400 years of Shakespeare. Macbeth, staged first in 1606, is the story of a Scottish general who is prophesied to become king of his country. Macbeth fulfills the prophecy by murdering the present king at his wife’s prodding. Then, one crime leads to another. Macbeth’s reign of terror eventually comes to an end with the bizarre oracle of his death coming true in equally bizarre fashion.


GCDC’s version was an hour and fifty minutes long. The script, translated by Urdu short story writer Syed Qasim Mehmood, was further shortened but retained the plot. The play was directed by GCDC former president Dr Salman Bhatti assisted by Mr Sameer Ahmed, Dr Atif Yaqub, Ali Usman Bajwa and Ahmed Dar. The setting and names of the characters were localized so that the title character of Macbeth became Raees. The play utilized a minimalist setting. There were only silver-coloured pillars and black curtains on the stage. An old-fashioned heavy wooden chair served as the throne. Costumes in-charge Raeesa Fatima opted for a look that blended east and west with flowing robes that lent credence to the imagery. With barely anything on stage except the characters, the play utilized deft lighting effects managed by Mian Farhan. The lighting changed in accordance with plot development in every scene. In the beginning for instance, when Raees ruminates over the witches’ prophecy, he is given a pale face light which gradually shifts towards red as he contemplates murder. Patches of light and dark engulfed the entire stage throughout the performance. Each character was given a signature color shade. This created an eerie gothic atmosphere reminiscent of a horror movie. The music and sound effects by Fahil Nasir matched the lights.


The characters are performing allotted role during the play “Raees”, an Urdu adaptation of

William Shakespeare’s famous tragedy Macbeth


Raees was performed convincingly by Talha Akhter. His conniving wife, Zamurad, who goes mad after a series of crimes have been committed, was performed by Taban Tazmin. Dilawar (Banquo) was performed by Abubakr Arshad. The famous witches from Macbeth were Jabin, Mariam Naqvi and Aisha Rauf. These three characters were scary, funny and teasing in all of their scenes. Shah-e-Faras (Duncan) was performed by Hamza Ghayur Akhter. Comic relief came in the form of the Harkara played by Mehran Potter. Momin Khalid and Ahmed were the king’s two sons. Muzammil Shabbir and Jazib Akram played noblemen at the king’s court. Kashaf Fatima and Mohammad Ata played the innocent mother and child killed by Raees’s henchmen. The two ferocious henchmen, GCDC president Mohammad Munib and Afaq Imran, were unnervingly entertaining in their grizzly acts.  Mushtaq (Macduff) took the final applause from the audience for avenging the murder of his family at the hands of Raees in a carefully choreographed fight scene.


Why did GCDC need to adapt or ‘localize’ the play? Sameer Ahmed, who teaches drama at the English department and is advisor to GCDC said: ‘Well, I could give you a number of reasons. They say Shakespeare is for all ages and all races. That means the plays can be staged in any setting and in any regional language and still be Shakespeare. In 2010, BBC broadcast a modern version of Macbeth with Patrick Stewart playing the lead character wearing a fascist military uniform and carrying a Kalashnikov. When you modernize Shakespeare with experiments like that, it makes a Shakespeare performance more amenable to a modern audience.’


The director of the play, Dr Salman Bhatti added: ‘Theatres all over the world are celebrating 400 years of Shakespeare. We wanted to participate by bringing Shakespeare to Pakistan. Only a fraction of our population speaks English and even fewer people are able to understand the 17th century English language of Shakespeare. To truly bring Shakespeare to Pakistan, we had to make him comprehensible to our audience. For that we had to localize the play, to transform it into our cultural idiom.’


When asked why they did not stage the play in English, GCDC advisor Sameer Ahmed replied: ‘Although I teach English literature, I have a prejudice against staging English plays here. I think staging English plays perpetuates a colonial legacy. The English brought their theatre here to educate us in western cultural traditions. We had our nautanki theatre before the English came. But we forgot all about it. Theatre has to be indigenous and it has to be in local languages. We should have theatre in Urdu, Seraiki, Brohi and other regional languages. In Shakespeare’s days, French was considered a superior language for literary composition, but Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, John Webster and all the other dramatists chose to write in English. They preferred their language. Learn English, excel in it, but promote your own language is what I say.’ 


GCU Vice Chancellor Prof. Hassan Amir Shah announced that henceforth, GCDC would be staging two plays every year. He appreciated the skills in terms of acting, stagecraft, lighting, costumes and production. Prof. Shah also said GCDC had made the university proud once more.


The three-day performance was also attended by renowned TV, film and radio actor Firdos Jamal. Speaking on the occasion, Firdos Jamal lauded the performers saying even professional TV actors could not act as well as GCDC’s young actors, and that it was an honour for him to have been invited to such a performance. He said that the timing and delivery of the dialogues, the gestures and expressions were par excellence.


Veteran stage actor and director Madiha Gauhar said that she had seen many performances of Macbeth in Pakistan and abroad, but GCDC’s version was the best she had seen. She invited GCDC to perform Raees under the auspices of Ajoka theatre at Al-Hamra Cultural Complex. Seasoned playwright and celebrated novelist Mirza Ather Baig appreciated the performance saying: ‘Critics have said that there are a thousand ways of doing Shakespeare. Today, GCDC has shown that there are a thousand and one ways.’ Celebrated TV host and actor Noor-ul-Hassan said that while many theatre companies were staging shows using ribaldry and Bollywood songs, GCDC deserved full credit for producing quality theatre.


Famous writer and old Ravian Bano Qudsia also congratulated GCDC on a wonderful and thought-provoking adaptation of Shakespeare. Al-Hamra Arts Council Board of Governors Chairman Kamran Lashari said he was greatly impressed by the production standards maintained and invited GCDC to perform at the Al-Hamra cultural complex all year round. ‘From this day on,’ he said, ‘Al-Hamra belongs to GCDC, just like Bokhari Auditorium.’





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