Friday, May 6, 2011

6th act-up and some experimentation!

So we thought we'd shake things up a bit with the 6th act-up. We got a GREAT turn out this time - the best so far - we counted 57 people at one point I believe. That's *almost* too many - and by the end of the night, a number of them hadn't had a chance to act. That was a bit regrettable - but more on that later =)

We started the 6th act-olution off with the classic ice-breaker zip zap zoop. It's simple - person X zips person Y, who zaps and gets zopped by his/her neighbors.

We wanted to experiment with some new and fresh stuff. So we had Q, our co-founder and resident yoga student to lead the group into some breathing exercises. The main aim was to help people relax and focus a bit. We like to think it worked and there weren't too many snickers :P

(That's some alternate nostril breathing. They're NOT collectively picking their noses :P)

We had a yelling exercise - divided the group into two and got the to yell out their names as loud as they could. The reward for getting your name heard? The people whose names we heard got their first pick of the scenes that we were to perform, Who woulda thought yelling gets people really happy and high :D

We took a lot of ideas that we'd been getting over the last two weeks from the wheelers and implemented them this time! We got Ibrahem giving us the idea that we should pay a tribute to honor the late and great Moin Akhtar, so we started off with a skit that he had done back in the day. Sharik - a newcomer to the wheel - took on the role of Satan, and we had a very unscared host :)

We had some scripts with clips this time - we played the clip and asked people to do their own versions of the scripts! We did Erin Brocovich, The Invention of Lying, and two comedy skits.

We quickly broke the tempo with some games - create your own ad! (Another idea contributed by Akbar)

We finished off with a teaser from an upcoming play in which two of the wheelers are performing this weekend - The Office! It was a special teaser just for The Acting Wheel - and we got tickets at a great discount too :D

-nausheen, on behalf of the acting wheel :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

5th time's a charm

5th act-olution tonight, and it was a blast :) Just the right kind of audience - lots of participation and some absolutely mesmerizing acting! (Kudos to all those who had the guts and the glory to act!! :))

Ok, so you can only see guys in that pic. There was gender diversity too, prawmiss :)

We started off with a quick favorite ice breaker - whoozit! We've tried this with 14 year olds, and with 20 somethings, and this works each time! It's basically a guess who's the leader game, with the leader doing all kinds of random movements which the entire group follows! Looked something like this:

we moved onto the foreign film exercise, where we had to translate gibberish! Always gets people excited :) we did a few interesting scenes from movies: the intro scene from Scream - played by two girls! (That's one of the things that I personally love about the wheel - how we can change gender roles and achieve something in a scene that was never there in the original movie :)) We spoiled Fight Club for some people after that - because we did the ending scene which revealed the mystery behind the entire movie! We did scenes from the chick flicks He's Just Not That Into You, Reality Bites, and the oldie Ghostbusters!

We broke the tempo with some more games, and got a surprise hit with the Alphabet Game! We heard interesting conversations about unicorns and zebras and lots of xylophones. We also did scenarios with funny sounds - people mistook whistles for dogs and ambulance sounds for...not quite sure what. Hit though, and quite a ladder-up on our usual simple scenarios :)

Khurram led an awesome emotional orchestra - a replica of what Blackfish used to do in some of their gigs too :)

We finished the act-up with more scenes - Good Will Hunting, a second scene from He's Just Not That Into You, a monologue from The Network (the performance of the night) and the intro scene from Yes Man! Our audience was so awesome that they didn't wanna leave!! We ended up doing our bonus scene as well as all the scenarios we had planned :)

Check out the video of our emotional orchestra trial before the audience got into it :)
The best thing about the act-up I think was the audience this time! We had a super quiet, super respectful and yet very responsive audience, who loved making weird sounds, encouraging people during brain hiccups, and loved applauding awesome performances!

Keep coming back for the wheel :) =)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Memorable scenes from The Acting Wheel

Things we'll remember for a while, with a shout-out to the guys who created history!
 let us know if you agree, disagree or feel that we've left anyone out!
  • Jerry Maguire - Show Me the Money. Sahar's rendition of Cuba Gooding Jr's character was awesome! Her energy was contagious and she BECAME all about Show Me the MONEY!

  • When Harry Met Sally - Fake Orgasm scene. Role Reversal! Khurram played Sally and Shazaf played Harry. Who else would've dared to fake an orgasm in the middle of 30 strangers? Quite unforgettable :P
  • Legally Blonde - courtoom scene. This little girl was AWESOME. She played Elle Woods' character - a blonde who's anything but dumb, and stole the show with her rendition of the climatic speech which won her the case!
  • Lord of the Rings - Gollom. This was inspired and almost transcendental in it's other-worldliness. Out of nowhere, we had a new performer go into Gollom's character and make it his own!
  • Twilight: When Bella discovers that Edward is a vampire (can't find a better picture of this :(). This was the first time that we really saw (and fell in love with, theatrically speaking) Akbar! He played the vampire Edward who's rather desi and not terrifying at all! Very memorable and funny - especially supported by the very funny german guest who had joined us that day!

  • Dead Poet's Society - the barbaric yawp. I was in awe of these two guys! One played the professor, Robin William's character, and the other played the student. They were so good that they almost didn't even have to look at the lines! Bravo :)
  • Acting Games:
  • Auntie and cop in traffic. We've had many amazing improv scenes, and these are only a few of them. This particular sequence was particularly hilarious - especially Salman's acting! He played an auntie who breaks a traffic signal and is adamant on not admitting her mistake to the greedy cop.

    • Guy who finds out his wife's cheating on him. This (by now) famous improv scene made Aadi famous! He played a husband who is distraught by his wife cheating on him, and a scene between him and his ex-girlfriend ensued which had somewhat not-so-straight turns :P

      • Courting 101: We had this improv scene during the Actor's Nightmare game in the 4th act-up. The script was with the girl, and the guy had to improvise. Another very memorable scene by Akbar and Kiran, who was the indignant girl.

      Sunday, April 10, 2011

      4th act-up!

      read a detailed account of it on Khurram's blog

      Sunday, March 27, 2011

      3rd Act-olution: Part II: dudes with no car, william wallace and 10 things you do not hate about the acting wheel

      We did Dude Where’s my Car next - thank you to Akbar and Kiran for being Ashton Kutcher and Sean William Scott, while Soha was Mr. Pizzacoli and the awesome twins withholding their ‘gift’ were played by Konouz and Taha Mirza. Braveheart was next, and Anthony Galli - a fellow RJ at Radio 1 fm91 - gave a crack at being ‘William Wallace’(he would have made Mel Gibson proud, I thought so anyway) while Ayesha was a young soldier and Vaqas was Lochlan (greedy feudal lord!).

      10 things I hate about You was next and Sahar showed that Julia Stiles ‘aint got nothing on her’(mmmhmmmm with some attitude)! Hyra showed that she can be ‘Bianca’ (and act as if she had a belly) and Hareem (who was there for such a short time) was her bestie ‘Chastity’. The Daddy figure who gave em ideas was played by Vaqas. After that we were treated to an imaginary sword fight, while I was sitting beside Salman (our wonderful photographer- check his stuff out at He made interesting lightsaber noises while we did the famous Star Wars scene which gave birth to the line "Luke, I am your father". The two boys who were Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker did an awesome job. Although being a Star Wars fan, I can't believe you two had not seen the movie!

      After the 1st set of Scripts, we took a short breather to go straight into more Acting exercises. This time we went for some improv, and man we saw some awesome stuff. There were the Monosyllabic Zombies and a singing victim, a ‘Tulla’ who did not want to be touched by a ‘lady driver’ who was very touchy, plus a innocent bystander that had to get involved (well done to Maliha, Annie, A dude who’s name I don’t know sowy, Akbar, Salman and Shz). There were also fake motorcyclists who were Uber happy about the Pakistan victory and even more happy about Konouz limping around with one shoe on her foot and the other in her hand, screaming (through the laughter, I can only guess) ‘Badtameez’. Then that Man sitting in the ‘Friend Zone’ was shown that hey you can break that Barrier! It can be broken, yes it can, it is true. Aadi Adeal was disgusted to find out via email that his spouse was cheating on him and called on his Best Friend (Taha Mirza, who had grand plans of taking advantage of his friends ‘shock’) and the rest they say is not PG 13. I have to say one of the most enjoyable performances of the night. (big round of applause for Taha Mirza and Aadi Adeal!)

      After the wonderful ‘Improv’ came some more scenes, including more of Mr. Brown and Ali Nadeem, as well as Dr. Evil and his Son Scott Evil (well done Anthony and Qutub) telling the ‘Therapist’ (Kiran, wonder if Kabeer ever has to do that?) about their relationship. Then we had Billy Crystal Analyze That, that being Robert De Niro. Ibrahim I believe was playing the former mob boss ‘Paul Vitti’. Then came a great rendition of a blonde lawyer, from Legally Blonde, played by Amtul, who struggled on the thioglycocate(I struggle in spelling it) but excelled in convincing the Jury(in this case the audience) that she’s got some SKILLS! And Sahar doing well as the witness whose lie about a perm got her in handcuffs. Vaqas again played a major role, by being that dude who only had a line or two in the scene, well done bro lol! The Night ended with Gollum, and he summed up what the Acting Wheel has become……..Precious!!!

      I had a great time, and for those that couldn’t make it, come NEXT TIME -check out our Facebook page, Nausheen and Qutub thank you thank you and thank you for all the hard work you two put in, in making the Acting Wheel happen. Maliha you helped this time as well, for which I am grateful.Till Next time! As the Grateful Dead would sing it….The wheel is turning and you can't slow down, you can't let go and you can't hold on, you can't go back and you can't stand still,(my line) but you can join it if you WILL!

      Friday, March 25, 2011

      3rd Act-olution! Part 1: The acting intros, whoozit, and an inappropriate wizard

      A day after the Pakistani Cricket team thrashed the West Indies by 10 wickets, and on the day the Australians were finally sent packing from the World Cup, having been in every Final since 1996, a strong group of 40 amateur actors made the Second Floor (T2F) their stage.

      A couple of them were so eager and more importantly ‘punctual’ that they were present before the official start time of for the Acting Wheel’s 3rd Act-olution. Pleasantly surprised Nausheen, Q and I were, to find new faces in the audience, as well as those that have been with us from the start of The Acting Wheel. Special shout-out to our old wheelers - Annie (Happy Birthday by the way), Sahar, Kiran, Salman, Hassan (2 of em)  and Akbar. And as King Theodan of Rohan standing at Helms staring deep at the Uruk Hai that had been made for one purpose, that being to end the reign of men, aptly substituted by the most hard working ‘co-founder’ of the Acting Wheel, Nausheen, she(most likely) thought to herself ‘And so it begins’. Not to say that she is a ‘King’ or those that attended were Uruk Hai, it’s just that the Lord of the Rings was on the agenda, and ‘Gollum’(done expertly by Shehzad Ghias) unveiled that battle for his mind.

      Very smooth and welcoming ‘Welcome’ by Nausheen followed by the group showing how much they hated singing out their name, when they chose to act out what they did to make a living. We had some inappropriate guesses for ‘job descriptions’ as well as some very daring people crawling to depict Wild Life conservationists (thank you Soha and Konouz) as well as the ingenious reading a book to depict a student(awesome IBA student Hassan) and how can you forget the guy that made us think we were all squares.

      We moved on to the first acting exercise/game of the day ‘Whoozit’. Now this game showed how much talent the Acting Wheelers (I prefer calling you all Spokes, but the jury is still out on that one) have for a show called ‘Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa’(seriously Kiran some of those move’s were hard for the Men to do). Some of the contortions had the ‘Seeker’(the person that had to find the choreographer in a pool of people who were totally doing their own ‘thang’) acting or feeling like Homer Simpson screaming ‘DoH’. However it has to be mentioned, Qutub and Khurram (ME) succeeded in finding the leader while Nausheen did not (muahahahahahaahahaha, I guess the two of us are very observant).

      After that came our ‘Wheeler’s’ rendition of ‘Mind Your Language’, followed by myself trying to be a Scarecrow, while Nausheen (minus the shiny red slippers and Toto) was Dorothy in a scene from Wizard of Oz (has to be mentioned that there were a couple ‘Oh Ohs’ that were in that scene that Nausheen and I found inappropriate, the audience had cleaner minds me thinks).

      More to come on The Acting Wheel - stay tuned for what other scripts we did, and a few surprises that even we didn't plan for!

      Saturday, March 12, 2011

      2nd act-up! We're just getting started :D

      The 2nd act-up of The Acting Wheel brought in some wacky acting, some screaming, lots of gesturing, and a fake orgasm or too. But more on that later.

      The evening started with funny intros, which are quickly becoming a tradition here at the Wheel. Boring intros? Not for us. At the launch, we did interesting voices with the intros. This time, we tried doing funny walks, and people rose to the occasion! We got a ducky walk, a twirl, a stomping, a sitting walk, a lazy keeps on going. (Next time we'll make sure we record some of these spontaneous gems!)

      The best thing about the 2nd act-up was the spontaneity that we saw with people. It's absolutely fascinating and awesome to see people leave inhibitions behind, and bring their uniqueness to performances. (Keep in mind that NONE of us are professional actors!) A sneak into the myraid of emotions that we saw during the night:

      After the intros, we went into a quick acting exercise. These are a big hit with the Wheeling audience. Khurram and I had come up with this on our own: it's a version of dumb charades where the actors are given unique characters and roles to play out. For instance, we had an aunty looking for rishtas for her son. An aunty buying lawn at a crowded exhibition. A little child being bullied in her sandbox. A politician asking people for votes. We let people talk, but the most enterprising ones didn't want to use words at all!

      Irsa the out-of-breath olympic runner
      We went straight into acting after that. We did famous movie scenes this time, so Jerry Maguire's Show me the money, Juno telling her best friend she's pregnant, the iconic The Matrix's red pill/blue pill scene, When Harry Met Sally's unforgettably funny fake orgasm scene and the scene where Harry is sure that they can't ever be friends. We even tried our hand at sappy films like Titanic's first scene with Jack and Rose and Twilight's chick-worthy scene where Bella first finds out Edward is a vampire. We also did a great monologue from 100 Girls (which you have to check out here)

      The most surprising script that we did was Mind Your Language's first episode - not because it was funny (that was expected), but because so many people had requested us to do it and were really looking forward to it!

      The Matrix with Morpheus and Neo
      Khurram being a male Sally, doing the fake orgasm
      The audience, somewhat captivated :)
      We sneaked in another acting exercise in the middle of all the acting. We tried a famous acting game, called the Party game. There're a bunch of guests who are given funny and quirky roles to mime out, and the host guesses who is trying to be whom.

      Trying to hold a large piano, sleeping while talking, and surfing!
      Our hosts did a great job - they didn't lose focus while people kept dancing around them acting out strange things, and guessed almost all their guests' roles!

      We'll have more of these sessions in the weeks to come Insha'Allah! To make sure you don't miss the next act-up, join us at!