Pakistani ‘dictator’s’ wife comes to Scotland

August 23rd, 2008 - 1:51 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 23 (IANS) While former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf shuffles his choices in life after politics, an unnamed Pakistani dictator’s wife still seems to be in the thick of things - in Edinburgh, Scotland.The dictator is there in spirit, for it’s his wife who does most of the talking.

More than 6,000 km away from Islamabad, the Edinburgh Festival of Arts is hosting a play called “The Dictator’s Wife” by the Pakistani novelist Mohammed Hanif.

The 50-minute, one-woman show is part of Invasian - a group of theatre companies featuring new British Asian writing at the acclaimed festival.

In Hanif’s play, the first lady has received 5,000 roses for her 34th wedding anniversary. In the meanwhile, her husband, the sixth most powerful man in the world, has started bringing a briefcase to bed. The only problem is that the briefcase contains active controls for the country’s nuclear weapons.

“Can this feud be contained to the marital bedroom?” asks a summary of the play, which is being produced by the Edinburgh-based Wave Theatre.

Hanif said in a recent interview that if it does well in Edinburgh, he would like to take the play to India and Pakistan.

“It is not based on any particular dictator,” he said, although his Booker-nominated novel, “A Case of Exploding Mangoes” contains a fictionalised account of the late General Ziaul Haq’s wife.

Hanif, a former Pakistan Air Force officer who now heads the BBC’s Urdu language radio, has also been promoting his novel at book events at the Edinburgh Festival, an annual feature in the European cultural calendar.

The dictator’s wife is being played by the playwright’s wife, Nimra Bucha, who was actively involved in and performed with Baang Theatre, an actor’s collective in Pakistan, before she moved to London.

She has also acted in plays for BBC World Service and BBC Radio 4 and was in a radio adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s “Midnight’s Children”.

Wave Theatre was founded in 2005 by Artistic Director Annie George and focuses on new writing and acting talent from South Asian, black and minority ethnic backgrounds.

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