Theatre

Citizen Reviews: Baghdad Wedding

Baghdad Wedding Photo: K. Ananthan  

Smooth flow

Hats off to Akvarious Productions for a stellar performance of Baghdad Wedding. The acting and the smart use of sets and lighting was the highlight of the play. I loved how the emotions and scenes flowed into one another smoothly, transitioning from light to heavy, humorous to melancholic. Although a little slow in parts, the play kept the audience involved from the very first scene to the last dance.

Prerna

Landons Road

***

Best for last

With a wide canvas portraying the lives of three friends across two different cultures, Baghdad Wedding ended the theatre fest with a bang. Not exactly spell-binding but the play came close to it. The acting and scripting replete with accents, native humour and monologues about local rituals was good. Samir made everyone laugh with his vulgar humour while the transformation of the rebellious girl into a hijab-wearing woman was subtle. The ending was melodramatic but then the play couldn’t have ended any other way.

V. Vamsi Viraj

Tamiraparani, IIT Madras

***

Multi-sensory experience

Baghdad Wedding turned out to be a multi-sensory experience, with music evocative of an Arab world, a set fluid enough to accommodate many scenarios, poetic lighting worthy of the script and brilliant portrayals by the cast. The piece de resistance, however, was the script — never sentimental, but with nostalgia, humour and tragedy finely coursing through it, merging the present with the past. The narrative captured the social, cultural and political dichotomy that modern-day Iraqis are confronted with, and its consequences — their youth courting the West with its consumerist thrills which lull one into denial of their nation’s problems, knowing neither their own political history nor the way forward. It easily becomes the story of many countries around the world, including ours. To bring alive such a poignant yet irreverently funny, layered script is a challenge to any director, but Akarsh Khurana’s design, richly minimalistic, did justice to it in a big way.

Vinodhini Vaidynathan

Mandaveli

***

Competent stagecraft

Written by an expatriate Iraqi, Baghdad Wedding has a strong script. It was a serious play, not a solemn one, with a leavening of humour. The stagecraft was competent, and the acting earnest. The only shortcoming was that the cast appeared too callow to play the roles. Altogether, this fine play and production made me glad that I had taken the trouble to struggle through the traffic to watch it.

Mano Daniel

Indiranagar

***

Soul-searing

Raw, brutal, soul-searing, thought-provoking, poignant… Baghdad Wedding was all this and more. The play highlighted the depth of feeling, the trauma and the constant questioning of beliefs by educated Iraqis. Weaving in homosexuality, friendship, patriotism, terrorism, prison brutality along with the heart-rending pathos of a love that could not be, the story was carried forward by the excellent cast and crew. The sets were minimalistic and effective, the lighting perfect and the timing exact. The play left you breathless and disturbed.

Sheila Singh

Spurtank Road

***

Lost and found

Kudos to the director, the light designs and brilliant acting. Baghdad Wedding takes you from a London college to an Iraqi desert on a rollercoaster of a love story, two weddings, a funeral and a war all of this packed into two hours on stage. As the story unfolds, the three main characters grow on you. Salim is the boy that any woman would like; Luma is the girl who steals the show, be it as the bubbling student or the mature doctor; Marwan is the guy who connects the dots. The story is laced with witty one-liners. Though it revolves around two men and a woman, in the end it’s not the love triangle that you remember but the story of a country lost and found!

S. Vijaysagar

Tiruttani

***

Fabric of war

Baghdad Wedding contained all the drama, comedy, joys and sorrows integral to any wedding in any part of the world. But this is not just anywhere but Baghdad, war- torn and reeling under insurgents and atrocities. The play captured the hopes, aspirations and eventuality faced by three London-educated youth. Essentially a tragedy, the script managed to keep the proceedings light while the audience remained spellbound by the rich fabric of war-time Baghdad.

Anirudh Rajaseshan

Mylapore

Ineffective portrayal

Baghdad Wedding was a complicated play although it could have been made simple. At times the dialogues were not as humorous as they were intended to be. The story can be attributed to any one of the foreign returnees, on how they may feel about the current situations in their countries. The play failed to grab the audience’s attention.

Murali Krishna V.

T. Nagar

***

Brief and brilliant

High on production values, Baghdad Wedding made the most of the tight script and stunning sets. The changing lighting seamlessly tied together the various scenes, from England to Iraq, from a dressing room to a terrorist/insurgent hideout, often pulling the viewer into the scene brilliantly. Many stories intertwined to comment on the Iraqi diaspora in the U.K. and their confusion on returning to their homeland. Sexuality was explored, but the treatment seemed a bit frivolous in an otherwise great narration. Dialogues were a treat to listen to. All in all, a successful attempt at cutting a long story short without losing the details.

Joseph D. P. James

Velacheri

***

Mixed emotions

Baghdad Wedding There were some captivating scenes that related to the emotional side rather than creating in the audience’s mind an intense war scenario. There was humour but it did not merge with the script. The portrayal was not seamless. The play should have been more precise, and the link among sex, love, war and death could have been portrayed in a more intense way.

Princess Naik

Adyar

***

Everything about Baghdad Wedding, be it the set with Saddam Hussein’s pictures, the distinct Arabic music in the background or the accent and sensibilities of the cast transported the viewer to an Iraq the way we have known it from the Desert Storm days through the time when Hussein’s regime was ousted to the present- day Iraq which is a picture of chaos. In this setting the story of three U.K.-educated Iraqis returning to their homeland for different reasons was a story well told. The horrors of Abu-Ghraib and the oblique reference to the Kurds threw light upon the perils of the invasion by the Americans and the geo-political turmoil that is such an integral part of Iraqi history. The humour was intelligent and the lighting deserves special mention. A fitting finale to the theatre festival.

Kartik Subramanian

Anna Nagar


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Printable version | Aug 5, 2021 6:08:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/theatre/citizen-reviews-baghdad-wedding/article3803450.ece

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