What an incredible adrenaline rush it was to see The Khawatoons, Pakistan’s first all women comedy troupe, performing their first show in Karachi. An area of our society that is considered predominantly a male area of expertise; it is refreshing to see women foray into the field of comedy as well.
Perhaps the most well known name in this troupe, also the fine lady who brought all these brave and talented women together, is Faiza Saleem, a name we’re seeing a lot lately, thankfully. A lawyer turned comedian, Faiza is also accredited with putting together the recently held ‘Auratnaak Show’ that boasted a line of female stand-up comedians, another first in Pakistan.
The show started off with Jibran Nasir, lawyer and political activist, reciting a poem that he had written himself, called ‘Aurat’ which questioned the way women are treated in our country, and how they aren’t given the same opportunities as men are. Faiza then took the floor and began the show, taking the crowd away from the empowering yet depressing start to the show.
The troupe boasts many talented women, 5 of whom performed this time: Amafah Mubashir, Rabiya Hamid, Sana Ahmed Khan, Natalia Gul Jillani and Faiza Saleem herself. While most of the girls have a corporate background, Natalia Gul Jillani had an acting background, having performed in Nida Butt’s production “Grease”. While Faiza had the audience cracking up at her natural wit and stage presence, it was Natalia who stole the show, being the fastest improviser on the stage. She even left the audience impressed with her impersonations and accents.
However, while the girls show a lot of potential, they definitely need more practice as some performers were unable to carry the improv games forward and were relying mostly on funny one liners. Improv games require performers to create a scene, based on the suggestions of the audience. Sometimes the girls would forget what their scene was. For instance, in one game, two performers were given the scene where an aunt is confronting her niece about failing her exam, but the trick was that they had to use the alphabet of the last word in the other performer’s sentence to carry the conversation forward. The girls simply forgot about their characters as they tried to fulfil the demand of the game, and simply tried to create sentences that ended up making no sense. Again, this simply means that the girls need more time with this craft and will soon be able to master all the games that are played in their show.
The Khawatoons are performing their next show in Lahore soon and everyone should definitely go down to watch them!