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Fantasia and fun.

Byline: Peerzada Salman

KARACHI -- There are not many illusionists in Pakistan. Although they have had their share of performances on stage and TV, their presence has not been a conspicuous one. This seems to be changing, and changing with all the modern-day trappings.

Now we also have mentalists performing mentalism (rest assured: it's not a cerebral defect) in front of audiences. One such demonstration was witnessed on Friday night at a show called The Fantasists Wizardry, Wit, Wonder, directed by Usama Qazi, at the Arts Council.

Speaking to the audience before the start of the programme, the director said it wasn't a theatre piece that they were about to witness, rather, he'd like to call it a 'show'. And show it was.

It all began with a dance act which wasn't an elaborate one. Then came the mentalist Afzal Afridi. Like all such practitioners, he peppered his performance with humour. He said one needed to be 'mental' to do mentalism or fall in love. He then invited a young man on stage and told him to think about the name of his first love. After a bit of an exchange of dialogue, Afridi wrote the name of the girl that the young man was asked to think about. It was the same as the young man had thought of. The audience appreciated the first act with a generous round of applause.

For the second act Afridi invited a book lover on stage and requested him to pick one of the five books that he had put on a table. The man picked one, after which the mentalist asked him to quietly read two paragraphs from a page. In the end Afridi revealed the last word of the paragraph that the man had read.

Then came the turn of a young boy whom the mentalist tried to hypnotise and succeeded in doing so to a decent extent. Both the acts with the book reader and the boy lacked a little bit of finesse perhaps because it was the first night of the event. But overall, the audience liked Afridi's effort.

An illusionist, Munawwar, was slated to perform in second part of the show.

The Fantasists will run until Jan 28.

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Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Date:Jan 20, 2018
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