Tribute to a theatre doyen

Being heritage-based, if not historical, the play also brings glimpses of the city of Hyderabad over changing times.

An upcoming bio-play will feature Mohammad Ali Baig, Noor Baig and Vijay Prasad. Director Baig believes that aesthetics form a crucial part of his approach to theatre, which is ultimately a tribute to late Qadir Ali Baig, his father and theatre doyen. The ‘Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Foundation’ production is written by Noor Baig, produced by Begum Razia Baig, designed and directed by Mohammad Ali Baig.

'Under an Oak Tree’ is a bio-play; a journey of a boy born in a palace, growing up under the shade of his father’s legacy of theatre and eventually, discovering himself. Playwright-actress Noor Baig has sketched the path of her husband's unusual childhood and adolescence, drawing parallels to that of an acorn growing into its own, under and away from the proverbial oak tree.

The play has been inspired by Hyderabad-based playwright-director-actor Baig's childhood in the aristocratic environs of Ahmed Bowla Bagh Palace, which also housed the family's-stud farm and growing up years amidst his father's theatre work and later, advertising, the play traces an introspective journey of self-discovery.

The play had a sold-out premiere in London, which according to the London Tribune was ‘Captivating and heartwarming’. Also getting recognition in the country after being staged to a full house Indian premiere at the Kala Ghoda Festival in Mumbai and India Habitat Centre’s Theatre Festival in Delhi, the play is travelling to the city with its latest theatre production on Friday.

“With fairy tale-like, real life anecdotes of a charmed life spent wandering around the vast palace grounds, innocent times spent manning the box office of his father's plays, losing his father before he became a man himself, immersing himself in the glitzy world of advertising before coming full circle and finding himself again, it is a unique yet universally relatable story of growing up. Based on real life instances, it has a warm, evocative and emotionally and philosophically rich landscape, delving deeply into the tumults and triumphs of a theatre family,” says Noor Baig, who also plays the protagonist/narrator's unnamed mother whose own parallel journey mirrors his as she watches her son grow, stumble and rise.

Being heritage-based, if not historical, the play also brings glimpses of the city of Hyderabad over changing times. The whole set is designed by the director comprising a modern-day minimalist bachelor pad on one side and an aristocratic and nostalgic Asaf-Jahi area on the other. An interesting Mediterranean-inspired soundtrack is another feature of this wholesome production.

‘Under an Oak Tree’ will be staged at Sheraton Grand Resort & Spa on Friday 7.30 pm.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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