NAPA INTERNATIONAL PERFORMING ARTS FESTIVAL
Barri (The Acquittal): A Bold Indictment of the System based on Gender Discrimination.
Performed by Ajoka Theatre
Directed by Madeeha Gauhar
Written by Shahid Nadeem
Sunday, 24th March 2019
8:00 - 10:00 pm sharp
Tickets: Rs. 600
Buy online: https://bit.ly/2U2ymTS
No children under 14
Barri revolves around four women inmates of a Pr*son cell. They include a woman activist, a mother arrested in place of her wanted son, a dervish woman charged with dancing in a shrine and a young woman who murdered her husband, thrice her age). It is a sensitive and poignant portrayal of the tensions and the bonding between the wronged women from varying social classes. In 1989, when Benazir Bhutto became the Prime Minister, Barri was converted into a popular TV series Neelay Haath (Blue Hands). Barri has also been performed at the Los Angles International Arts Festival in 2001, at the Theatre Row Theatre New York in 2017, at the Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago in 2018 and also in India
Barri was written in 1986 and first performed on International Women’s Day in 1987. Shahid Nadeem wrote the play on Madeeha Gauhar’s request, when he was in exile in London after being imprisoned by the military government of General Zia-ul-Haq. The play was produced by Ajoka and was directed by Madeeha Gauhar.
Although the theme and issues raised in the play are as relevant in today’s Pakistan as they were in the mid-80's, the play refers to the oppressive and discriminatory laws introduced by the Zia-ul-Haq military regime in 1983, which under the cover of Islamic reform, took away many of the rights which had been won by women after a prolonged struggle. This resulted in a strong reaction from the enlightened middle class women. A protest march in Lahore on 12 February 1983, was violently broken up by the police. Protesting women were beaten, dragged on the road by their hair and arrested (Madeeha Gauhar was one of them). That was the beginning of a new phase in the women’s movement which infused new life in the democratic struggle against the military rule.
However, the women’s movement was, and to a great extent, still is dominated by urban upper middle class women. There has been an ongoing debate concerning how to reach out to the grassroots and make alliances with other democratic movements in the country.
Nayab Faiza: Jamila
Madiha Rashid/ Kanwal Khan: Zahida
Samina Butt: Jannat
Eva Majid: Mariam
Naseem Abbas: Warder
Assistant Director: Naseem Abbas
Set & Lights: Nadeem Mir
Production Assistant: Asad Yousaf