From guttersnipe to royalty on the boards at Esena
By Ambreen Noon Kazi
LAHORE: Esena Foundation staged My Fair Lady, an adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s classic Pygmalion, here on Wednesday.
In Greek mythology, Pygmalion is the god who created an ivory statue and brought it to life. The Shaw play is about the metamorphosis of Eliza Dolittle from a guttersnipe, to borrow words from Henry Higgins, into someone who can be mistaken for royalty.
Maria Sharif reprised the Eliza role, made famous on film by the celestial Audrey Hepburn. Ms Sharif had the part down pat from the cockney vulgarities of the flower girl to the high-society lilts of Knightsbridge.
Since Esena is an all-girls school, Mehreen Mudassar played Professor Higgins and Fatima Ghaffar played Col Hugh Pickering. The play, directed and produced by Anees Majid Khan, sought to be sincere to the George Cukor film of 1964. Most of the musical numbers of Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner were included with the players lip-synching. These numbers prolonged the duration of the play to three hours—ten minutes longer than the film.
Close attention was paid to the set design and costumes as well. The street scene outside the opera house boasted carts full of fruits, flowers and vegetables and, yes, a live donkey. Higgin’s library had caged lovebirds and meticulously painted flats. Only the Ascot scene though peopled with splendiferous costumes left something to be desired.
This enterprise was put together by nearly 100 seniors at the 40-year-old school in Gulberg. Sumera Malik, member of the National Assembly from Khushab, an alumnus of the institution, served as chief guest and presided over the prize ceremony. The play ends its run today.