The landscape of the world is changing; the waters are rising, the sands are shifting, the weather has become a temperamental beast. As things become incrementally unrecognisable, scientists dive into the whys and hows.
To explore the dangers and possible safety ledges on the horizon, South Asian performance and literary collective Qissa-Go are kicking off a campaign of awareness with a play titled Ganj-I-Shakr this weekend.
Playwright Syed Faraz Ali says: “South Asia is expected to experience a large displacement due to climate change and we thought it was a really important concern that we should address.”
The story - which plays out at SIMA Performing Arts Company, Al Serkal Avenue on April 19 and at the Jameel Arts Centre on April 20 - is animated thanks to a live qawwali section and an original music score.
“A story tackling such an important issue really needs to affect people emotionally. Having worked on various projects with Qissa-Go, it seemed obvious that this one required something memorable. I’ve researched on lots of film scores, particularly films by PT Anderson. Additionally, I’ve recorded sounds in a nature preserve in Africa to create an atmosphere that’s full of life. The entire process took about 2 months,” says Sarfaraz Ali, the play’s sound designer.
“This is a two-hour long play, a human interest story,” explains Tanya Shakil Daud, Director of Ganj-I-Shakr and founder of Qissa-Go. “Our playground is South Asia, because as you know, a country like Bangladesh is ground zero for climate change. We haven’t named the country but it’s within the region of South Asia.
“It is a story where people come in with the mindset of a particular type of development and what happens when you disregard community or nature and what is the impact in response to something like that,” she adds.
The path to the stage hasn’t been easy for the group. Fraz Ajmal, head of production, explains:
“We are facing quite a few challenges when it comes to getting the production values up. Sound, light, documentation of the project - all this stuff costs money and it’s not a small amount either. Even small stuff - getting microphones - can become very challenging if you don’t have collaborators on board. So these are the things we are facing since the beginning of the project, for six months now.”
Still, the troupe believes in its mission; to raise awareness of the shifting sands.
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Ganj-I-Shakr runs at SIMA Performing Arts Company, Al Serkal Avenue on April 19 and at the Jameel Arts Centre on April 20.