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Grease is classic, says Nida Butt

Grease has hit the theatre and we have caught NIDA to answer some of our questions so that we can explore the nitty gritty details of the play

Lets hear something about GREASE from the one and only NIDA BUTT

Why Grease?

Everybody loves Grease. I didn’t do it earlier because I wasn’t ever sure how to go about it. About six to seven years ago, I wouldn’t have known how to actually stage something like this, but now we have figured out how to make it work.

It’s the first licensed musical play in Pakistan. How do you feel about that?

We were quite thrilled; it’s a great show of confidence by theatrical rights worldwide to have awarded the license to us. It took me weeks to find the right people to contact, but eventually, we got the rights. It’s the socially responsible and legally correct way to stage Western musicals if we are going to be using their titles.

How did you manage to translate the quintessential American nature of the story for a Pakistani stage?

Grease is a classic, so you can’t really mess with it or tweak it or localise it. It would steal the essence of what Grease is. We wouldn’t do that.

Do you think the actors are going to live up to the expected standards? John Travolta was one of the most charismatic leading men in Hollywood. Is Ahmed doing justice to the role of Danny Zuko?

The talent this time is splendid. We do understand that the characters are so well-known from the movie that we would not want to move too far away from the characterisation of those, but naturally, every actor brings their own flavour. It’s very important that you do that and make it your own, while staying true to the spirit of the character.

How did you manage the costumes and sets?

The costumes are colourful — they’re young and they’re fun. The designers have done a great job bringing back the 50s era. We have managed to create five sets and the integral part is to be able to shift from one scene to another in an instant. I started working on these sets in June last year; it’s been a real thorn in our side. We want people to pay attention to what we have done to the sets and not just the songs and dances.

Some people are complaining that Rs2,000 per ticket is too steep. What do you have to say in response to that?

If you look at theatre around the world, it is not a cheap hobby. You’re paying a couple of hundred dollars for the best shows. We’ll be putting up the best musical show that Pakistan has ever seen. I think they got off easy.

S. Rasool

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