'Let Me In' - Now Playing at the PNCA Auditorium, Islamabad

'Let Me In' - Now Playing at the PNCA Auditorium, Islamabad
Click on the image to visit the play's official Facebook group.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

And in Other News ..

The Living Pictures’ resident savant filmmaker/promo director spreads his wings – and is now in the final pre-production phases of his first film! And we’re proud to be the first source to inform you – well, second source. (Damn you Facebook!)

I’m not revealing much – until directed to, so keep watching this space – but from the title sequence he shared with me, it’s going to nothing short of a visual spectacle.

Three cheers to Raza then. He should be forwarding the official teaser poster soon!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Auditions: Round One – The Great Flood of 2008

What is it about Eid that makes you yearn for the month to magically rewind itself to the start of Ramadan – the days of abstinence, the first cigarette post Iftar, get-togethers at ridiculously overpriced restaurants that serve garbage - à la mode (I counted four pieces of chicken in my Supreme Chicken Tikka pizza – four) – I don’t know. The month seems to lead itself to a glorious anti-climax, or, as a friend puts it: a hug to the left, a hug to the right, a hug to the left again, and then what? I guess I’m one of those who spend Eid locked up in their rooms, reading Dean Koontz or the like.

The saving grace – audition planning. Director’s cap and all that jazz. The wheels were finally set in motion and round one happened at the Apartment, this Saturday, amid nausea and general dizziness. (This is the part where I interject with a witty – and true – remark about how I always seem to find myself ill whenever a new project starts.) Contrary to previous auditions, that seem to stretch out without end in sight, these were pretty tame. Two (and in some cases) three readings from various monologues that I cherish. Waqas (self proclaimed basher of egos, believer in philosophy of glass half–empty, Nazi war enthusiast and similar) and Aashir (assistant director of old) were there to join me. What surprised me as I entered the ‘waiting area’ was the amount of unfamiliar faces. Theatre newbies. Surprises didn’t end there, apparently. As most directors will tell you, one has to shove expectation down the toilet during the initial days of auditions, as some are out there for their unique brand of shughal, some audition only to be never heard of ever again, some are plain terrifying, and, well, the list goes on. But of the forty or so that came on Saturday, most were impressive. Some left all three of us speechless, literally. Well, maybe not Waqas, but I doubt anything could quiet that one down. Of course, props go to a couple or so who were clear winners. And, while we’re on the subject, props to a couple (or so) others, who just made our day. Really, in the endless journey of hearing the same monologues over and over again, your…umm…‘interpretations’ of the given text provided a hilarious interlude, and, once more quoting the written word of Waqas: caused us to die a little, inside.

Round Two begins today at 6 pm – and fingers crossed, as always.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Boy with the Backward Chakra

Right. Its 1:40 pm and its now been 20 hours since I’ve slept. And here I am, writing a Welcome message, right when Roza’s hitting me where it hurts.

My name is Osman Khalid Butt, and I direct plays. Or try to. Managed to pull off three: two last year, and one this year – and, well, its like I woke up one day and thought: wouldn’t it be neat, instead of doing a fourth play this Winter, to do a fourth, fifth and sixth play in the same time frame?

You’ll see the poster above – it’s only further fueled my dementia. You see, the reason I haven’t slept this past night is because I was up designing this work of art/modern masterpiece/trash/call-it-whatever-you-like: sticks-and-stones-sticks-and-stones, and I was all giddy about it till about 10 minutes ago. Then I just started to feel nauseous.

There’s a part of me, though, that’s excited – and not to hear the comments on said poster (especially not Waqas’s – critique extraordinaire and self-proclaimed ego-puncturer) – but because it’s all about to begin. Once again. Hesitant callers asking millions of questions, the nervousness/excitement you see on all potential actors – the grueling session of auditions themselves that I’m now infamous for: practically the best part of putting up a play for any director. The rest is torture. But more on that later.

For now, welcome, Constant Reader. I begin this blog will blatant plagiarism. Brownie points for guessing which term is a direct lift-off from a famous author’s catchphrase. Decipher the clue and you just may be one step closer to finding out what these plays (that I usually, in case of all previous ones, keep shrouded in mystery till the cast is finalized) might be about.

Till the next time we meet,
I remain
Osman Khalid Butt (alias Obi)