Dubai is often hailed as a ‘melting pot of cultures’, but that’s not always defined by painless symbiotic relationships.
When the many strands of various cultures, expectations and human wilfulness come together there are bound to be some frayed nerves. Tall Tales, the UAE-based group that brought Howzat — an original play set in the city — now brings JLT, an ode to the city and the bumps that forge its connections.
The name is a riff not only on where the funny tale unfolds, but also serves as an acronym for Just Like That.
“[It] depicts how easily you can change your life — Just Like That,” explains Asad Raza Khan, who is the co-author, producer, and actor of the production. The other writer is Manju Ramanan, who says: “We have tried to bring everyday issues via comedy to the audiences here.”
In JLT, to be held at The Junction in Al Serkal Avenue between April 26 and 28, the principal actors live in the same apartment building. The locale turns into a catalyst for interaction between an Emirati writer, a British businessman, a European entrepreneur, a Lebanese flight attendant, a South Indian security guard, and an Indian or Pakistani investment banker. The results are deemed hilarious by Raza Khan.
“It is New Year’s Day and the night before an incident has happened [in] the pool of the building. Now the couples who have lived next door to one another must interact. What follows is a lot of confusion, madness, and fun,” he explains.
To stay on point and make the story relatable, JLT takes a sweet-and-sour bite out of a Dubai resident’s daily life — including reactions to this year’s value-added tax. “VAT is just one of the elements of life in Dubai that we have mentioned in the play. All are done in a positive light and in good spirits. We want everyone to be able to relate to the story,” says Raza Khan.
And since relevance is the point, the troupe is channelling the #yearofgiving theme that’s permeating through the city. Not only will it fork over part of its proceeds to two charitable organisations but also treat the audience. “For the premiere night the entire cast and crew will sign play bills for each and every audience member. Also we will have a raffle with some gifts from our sponsors,” says Raza Khan.
A serious message in a funny coat, JLT’s moral is a simple one and best told though one of its dialogues: “We must deliberately come together, melt, and only then can we live together in harmony.”
Don’t miss it!
JLT runs from April 26-28 at The Junction Theatre in Al-Serkal Avenue. Tickets for the shows, to be held at 7.30pm along with a matinee show on April 28 at 2.30 pm, are Dh100.