‘An Inspector Calls’ on your conscience

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Iresh Zaker portrays the role of the eponymous Inspector Jinnah, and does him great justice. Baizid Haque Joarder’s portrayal, of a would-be-groom with a shameful secret, was a perfectionist’s dream. Mitul Mahmud and Wasi Noor Azam’s chemistry as bickering siblings was so memorable, that I sincerely hope they work more in theatre. Shakil Ahmed in his varied roles created lots of laughter, and I cannot wait to see him in more plays

From left, Samina Luthfa Nitra, Wasi Noor Azam, Mitul Mahmud and Toufikul Islam Emon

Every good play needs a “hook” to grab the attention of the audience. The hook of Jatrik Production’s “An Inspector Calls” was the scene of a girl committing suicide after drinking poison. Her screams of pain, as the poison spread through her veins, reverberated throughout the theatre, and also in the minds of the captive audience. After the traumatic death the play begins.

This review will closely inspect the character portrayals and the themes that were shown in the play. Before all of that, those of you not familiar with JB Priestley’s most celebrated play “An Inspector Calls,” you all have a golden opportunity to watch an adaptation of it by famed theatre director Naila Azad Nupur at the Bangladesh Mahila Samity Complex Building at Bailey Road. The remaining shows are at the same venue today, tomorrow and the day after.

The cast has a healthy balance of experience and “freshness” in theatre acting. 

Iresh Zaker portrays the role of the eponymous Inspector Jinnah, and does him great justice. Baizid Haque Joarder’s portrayal, of a would-be-groom with a shameful secret, was a perfectionist’s dream. Mitul Mahmud and Wasi Noor Azam’s chemistry as bickering siblings was so memorable, that I sincerely hope they work more in theatre. Shakil Ahmed in his varied roles created lots of laughter, and I cannot wait to see him in more plays.

Priyam Sarker plays the role of the girl Ava Alam, whose death caused the entire plot to unfold, and in her one-word speaking role, she glues the audience to her every movement. More credit of this should go to the director, who probably drilled all of Ava’s stage movement into the mind of the other actors through countless hours of practice, to ensure such seamless synchronicity. 

Veteran theatre actors such as Samina Luthfa Nitra and Toufikul Islam Emon brought their “A” game as usual. I would request the audience, who will go to watch the play, to notice the expressions with which these two deliver their lines; their expressions will invoke genuine emotions of equal parts amusement, revulsion and appreciation of their characters.  

For me the themes and the localized setting are the real crowd pullers for this adaptation. The premise of the play is as follows. A girl of the lower class of society commits suicide. An inspector comes to an engagement party of a rich family, unannounced, to ask everyone present, whether they knew the girl. All the family members are revealed to have known the girl through very visual and, in some cases violent, recollections. 

The prevalent theme in each recollection is that of how the bourgeoisie treat the proletariats. The profit seeking businessman fires a trouble-causing employee without any notice. A rich socialite gets a poor girl fired out of jealousy. The hypocritical social-welfare leader denies donation based on bias. A rich gentleman kept a poor mistress with his charm, and breaks her heart asunder as soon as it was time for his “business” marriage. Finally, a rich alcoholic “spoiled brat” rapes and impregnates a poor girl. 

These are all age-old stories we have heard, but the capital owners of Bangladesh need to watch this adaptation and be reminded, that in their zeal to accumulate wealth, they sometimes overlook their treatment of the “working”class. The consequences of their injustices may not be severe on them, but the price bared by the workers is hefty.

For those who may doubt my objectivity for this review, I will quote Aly Zaker following the premiere: “As a long-serving actor I can detect the ‘fumbles’ on stage very easily. I was surprised to find no such ‘fumbles’ in this production.” If you need further validation, theatre personality Ramendu Majumdar called it a “100% success.”

The eponymous role of Inspector Jinnah was portrayed by Iresh Zaker, who did him great justice

Source: https://www.dhakatribune.com/feature/2018/12/12/an-inspector-calls-on-your-conscience