Cold Plays

Playwright Shahid Nadeem was a three-time political prisoner in Pakistan, and it shows. All seven works in his newly translated Selected Plays share extreme sensibilities, depicting a universe of overcrowded jail cells, slums and parched villages in which the blackest of deeds are committed. The most ambitious work, a historical drama chronicling the life of the 18th century Sufi poet Bulleh Shah (spelled "Bulha" in the play) grapples, in the words of one character, with the "dark side of the human self" — exile, fatwas, persecution, genocide. There's murder in The Third Knock, forced abortion...

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