Robust Performing Creates Interesting Manufacturing Of Rahemtulla’s The Mistaken Bashir

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A scene from the Crow’s Theatre production of Zahida Rahemtulla’s The Wrong Bashir (Photo: Dahlia Katz)
A scene from the Crow’s Theatre manufacturing of Zahida Rahemtulla’s The Mistaken Bashir (Photograph: Dahlia Katz)

Crow’s Theatre/The Mistaken Bashir, written by Zahida Rahemtulla, directed by Paolo Santalucia, Guloien Theatre, Streetcar Crowsnest, closes June 16. Tickets right here

The Toronto premiere of The Mistaken Bashir, the primary play by Zahida Rahemtulla, presents one other ethnic group making its option to the stage, on this case, Canadian Ismailis. This play is welcome certainly as a result of it’s vital that the theatre scene replicate the range that’s Canada. In addition to, The Mistaken Bashir is a really entertaining providing with quite a lot of laughs.

An vital subtext of the play is the truth that the Ladha household was a part of the South Asian group that Ugandan dictator Idi Amin expelled in 1972, giving them simply 90 days to give up the nation or danger dying.

Their misplaced life in Kampala nonetheless weighs on the hearts and minds of father Sultan (Sugith Varughese), mom Najima (Nimet Kanji), grandfather Dadabapa (Salim Rahemtulla), grandmother Dadima (Zeittun Esmail) and household buddy Gulzar (Pamela Mala Sinha). By the way, Dadabapa is carried out by the playwright’s father, who had by no means earlier than appeared on stage, previous to his debut within the play’s world premiere in Vancouver in 2023.

A scene from the Crow’s Theatre production of Zahida Rahemtulla’s The Wrong Bashir (Photo: Dahlia Katz)
A scene from the Crow’s Theatre manufacturing of Zahida Rahemtulla’s The Mistaken Bashir (Photograph: Dahlia Katz)

The Canadian-born second era consists of son Bashir (Sharjil Rasool) and daughter Nafisa (Bren Eastcott).

Bashir is in his fourth 12 months of college finding out philosophy, and has drifted away from Ismaili traditions. At one level within the play he has to recite the Holy Du’a, the Ismaili every day prayer, and he can’t do it.

As an alternative, he spends his time going round to numerous cafés to get them to play tapes of his podcast, “The Smiling Nihilist”, which he data on a boombox — outdated know-how being his anti-capitalist protest. Bashir can also be enamoured with a gaggle of Zen Buddhist monks which causes his mom no finish of concern, pondering they reside in a haze of marijuana.
In the beginning of the play, Bashir has run out of cash, but once more, and is compelled to maneuver again house.

Typical Canadian teenage sister Nafisa is a highschooler who might be the neatest particular person on stage, and her job appears to be operating interference between the feckless Bashir and their mother and father. She can also be accountable for declaring house truths.

Taken general, The Mistaken Bashir is a farce within the style of mistaken identification.

It appears that evidently one of many many committees of the khana or mosque, has chosen Bashir Ladha to be the brand new Mukhisaheb, (Mukhi for brief), which is the very prestigious place of youth chief on the khana. When the astonished mother and father are knowledgeable of this by telephone, they instantly settle for on their son’s behalf.

A scene from the Crow’s Theatre production of Zahida Rahemtulla’s The Wrong Bashir (Photo: Dahlia Katz)
A scene from the Crow’s Theatre manufacturing of Zahida Rahemtulla’s The Mistaken Bashir (Photograph: Dahlia Katz)

Two of the representatives of the choice committee, Al Nashir (Vijay Mehta) and Mansour (Parm Soor), arrive to satisfy Bashir in particular person, and so begins the very amusing plot of everybody slowly realizing that the choice committee has chosen the unsuitable Bashir. With the excited arrival of the grandparents and buddy Gulzar, additional problems come up.

At this level, I have to level out that Sinha, who’s often a really high quality actor, completely garbles her phrases whereas spouting some bizarre accent. Her secondary function is definitely vital as a result of she, alone of the household, doesn’t imagine the committee has chosen the best Bashir, and tries to uncover the reality. Sadly, she actually couldn’t be understood.

Farces want a fearsome tempo, and director Paolo Santalucia as ensured that the play simply gallops alongside. He’s blessed with a robust all-Asian forged who’re prepared to throw themselves into the motion full tilt, and nobody holds again. Then again, the playwright has additionally included some very poignant moments, akin to scenes between father and son, and grandfather and grandson, and Santalucia makes positive that these episodes are given their full due.

Rasool’s Bashir is the lynchpin of the play, and he pulls off his character brilliantly. His arc swings from bewildered, to frantic, to helpless, to hysterical and again once more, and his facial expressions are priceless because the conversations past his management whirl round him. It’s a splendidly outlined efficiency.

Designer Ken Mackenzie has offered an uber-realistic, break up stage suburban house, in addition to the intelligent lighting which permits pin-spotting the kitchen, specifically, the place non-public conversations can happen. Ming Wong’s enticing costumes run the gamut from trendy to conventional, as does Jacob Lin’s intelligent rating. Briefly, the manufacturing values for The Mistaken Bashir are first fee.

The play has actually discovered an viewers — a bought out run in Vancouver, and an prolonged run in Toronto — so the comparability to the very fashionable Kim’s Comfort (2011) by Ins Choi, which gave insights into the Canadian-Korean group, shouldn’t be far off.

Whereas The Mistaken Bashir isn’t excellent — some scenes go on too lengthy, whereas others appear contrived, to not point out a wobbly ending — nonetheless, playwright Rahemtulla is clearly a expertise to observe, and we hope to see extra of the Canadian Ismaili group sooner or later.

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Paula Citron
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