Kali Theatre Company brings ‘The Dishonoured’, a deeply intense thriller exploring politics and corruption in modern day Pakistan. This play captivates and transports you into a world you know exists but subconsciously pretend isn’t there. However, the issues raised by writer Aamina Ahmad are extremely hard-hitting, raising awareness of politics that are brushed under the carpet.
The play is set in Lahore, Pakistan year 2009, Colonel Tariq (Robert Mountford) a highly honourable soldier has just caught a high profile terrorist and has been rewarded as a hero, he is praised by all and cherished by many. His wife Farrah (Goldy Notay) a passionate painter who is bored of living in Lahore and wants to escape the conventional housewife existence. Colonel Tariq informs his wife about a job offer in Washington D.C, Farrah doesn’t need to think twice as she sees this potential move as an opportunity to expand her knowledge of the arts. Tariq is persuaded by his wife’s strong words and intends to accept. But don’t be fooled by the preconception of this ‘happy’ family as unsettling secrets are shortly unraveled.
With an intimate and stripped back stage set-up this effectively gave space for the actors to emotionally fill the room with their character’s mysteries and frustrations. The cast successfully portrayed a realistic representation of their roles, oozing passion and confidence that had the audience on the edge of their seats. The director and performers covered the sensitive issues in an remarkable manner, engaging the audience so well that you not only empathised with the characters stories, but became exasperated with the wider issue of corruption and dirty politics.
The production wasn’t all dark and edgy, with hints of humour and light-hearted moments, creating an enjoyable watch. The explosive relationship between Tariq and American agent Lowe (David Michaels) created both intense and comedic atmospheres that captured the cross of cultures, testing their loyalty to their country and to each other.
What we found particularly interesting was unpacking the concept of honour. Is it dishonourable to cheat a friend, or to commit a crime in order to save your reputation? The Dishonoured presents to us difficult situations and posing the question whether we do actually have a chance against political corruption. As young British Asians, we thank Aamina Ahmad for bringing these issues to the forefront of our minds and questioning the society we live in.
A sharp script with extremely talented actors, showcasing their ability to cover controversial issues with ease. We highly recommend this play for an intelligible and thought-provoking watch, be prepared to have the stories linger in your thoughts and open your mind long after you leave the theatre.