Saturday, February 26, 2011

The launch, from Khurram's world

On the 24th of February, a Thursday at around the countdown to the launch of the Acting wheel began. At while counting 10 backwards in my head, Qutub ‘Q’ Mulla officially launched the Acting Wheel with an introduction, in which he graciously thanked all those that attended as well as the Second Floor for providing the place for launching a drama/acting club in Karachi.

With all the niceties over, work began, as our Wheel was launching in the stratosphere, we Zip’d Zap’d and Zoop’d some laughs as those who attended, mostly strangers took part in a bizarre game and showed how hard it was to learn and co-ordinate a few hand movements. Slowly but surely our little circle of Zooper’s were counted down, some unhappy at the unfairness of their dismissal and wanting a review (sorry Shazaf! Little to quick with the good bye I was) but unfortunately the ICC rules did not apply to the Acting Wheel.

Then we all got to know each other, ‘teacher’(actually co-founder) Nausheen got the attendees to stand up and introduce themselves to the circle of ppl that surrounded them, all with a different emotion and one who was so enthusiastic decided not to sweep others off their feet, rather himself (good on Vaqas for taking his fall in stride).

Once we all got to hear each others name once, the readings began. A strong group of over 20 people divided into 2 groups, with 2 ‘Friends’ scripts, and went on to allow their expression be voiced out! A fun encounter to see how the attendees remembered their favorite Friends characters, I got to play Pheobe!

With the 1st read done, the group was fused together again to act out in one big group some more exercises, beginning with people making up their own sounds/language and others translating for them in English. This exercise dubbed ‘foreign film’ brought about even more laughs and also showed the importance of a group standing together had more fun then when apart. Following the ‘foreign film’ exercise, a crude attempt at Whose Line is it Anyway followed! (we have to get better at that).

On to the next read, and even though ‘How I met your Mother’ is a popular TV series, this group showed that meeting anyone’s mother can become dull (sorry mom’s). Nonetheless re-enacting ‘Friends’ brought back the fun, and on came the enthusiastic attendees all wanting to ‘Act’ more.

Some great suggestions were given at the end of the Launch, and overall the experience for myself, Nausheen and Qutub was that of a ‘job well done’ and ‘baby we are in for a fun ride’.

We know that the only way to go in terms of improvement is up, and we hope that those that attended will spread the word, and get more people to join the Acting Wheel. For all those interested, is the place to check out.

Lastly, a thank you for the team at the Second Floor, especially Mariam and Sabeen, for helping Nausheen, Qutub and myself host, improve and hold the Acting Wheel at the T2F. Their support will help this drama club for all those interested in Acting in Karachi go a long way. Till the next session…..keep Acting! The Wheel is picking up momentum! And inshAllah will keep on rolling! *insert the Sons of Rock song. - Keep on Rollin’

Friday, February 25, 2011

Putting The Wheel in Motion!

We launched The Acting Wheel last night (24th Feb) at t2f. We received an overwhelming response as dozens of people (23 to be exact) came to talk, laugh and act with us. Here's how the day went:

We started off with some zip zap zoop - this acting exercise that gets people to instantly break the ice, and it worked! :)

With everyone's spirits high post-zip zap zoop, we split up into two smaller groups and acted out two Friends episodes simultaneously - The One Where Everyone Finds Out, and The One With The Princess Leia Fantasy. We even found someone to act as Ross who had never seen Friends before! (Didn't know anyone like that even existed :))


Right after the scripts were done, we kept things moving by doing more acting exercises - which everyone was very excited about! We did some Whose Line Is It Anyway, followed by the Foreign Film exercise. Lots of random words (yabba dabba doos) were spoken and inappropriately interpreted :)

We then did bits from How I Met Your Mother - the Slap Bet, and a third Friends episode - The One Where Ross is Fine.

We wrapped up with lots of thanks, some feedback and hopefully some people who will stick around and keep the wheel turning! (pun intended :P)
For more pictures of the launch, check out our Facebook page -

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

the test drive at the Wheel

We had a helluva pre-launch. I used to use the word helluva in the 90s, and it somehow seemed fit to use here. We had to take the concept for a test drive. We had to find out whether we were the only ones excited by the acting wheel. Fortunately, at least that Thursday in Karachi, we weren't the only ones.

We had the pre-launch at t2f. But ofcourse :) (There's no other place like it that fosters thought and creativity in Pakistan). We put up a Facebook invite and started frantically inviting all we thought would like the wheel. all who we knew and those who they knew and then some who they knew they knew. (This links nicely to one of the FRIENDS episodes that we did, but more on that later :))

The agenda was simple!
  1. Get the word out
  2. Get some people interested in acting together
  3. Act out some episodes of FRIENDS!
 We got about 16 people at the event - and got started on some acting exercises. Some people said they'd only come to watch - but by the end of the evening, we'd made Pheobes and Monicas out of them :D We got lucky in our choice of episodes - The One With The Stoned Guy is an old classic and can't go wrong!

A moment to appreciate the magic that is FRIENDS. I can't imagine another TV show for our generation that EVERYONE seems to know. That really works to your advantage when it comes to spontaneous acting - because even the shyest person in the room has probably already seen FRIENDS, and feels like it's something they can relate to.

I believe we created a bit of magic at the pre-launch. My personal favourite moment was when people jumped at the chance to be Pheobe, or Joey, or Chandler. And when we did the very funny scene between Joey and Ross, with people chuckling in the middle. What's more interesting was that a very shy guy was playing Ross' character, which meant that he was even more shy about the whole talking dirty thing.

We got a sign-up sheet full of names and email addresses, and a very happy q, bogey and sheen at the end. The main feedback that we got was that we should have more acting exercises and we've taken that to heart for the launch (scheduled this week). If you want to attend the launch, there's still time - register yourself at!/event.php?eid=184203984950658.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

acting games!

We've compiled lists of acting games and exercises that we like doing as both ice breakers as well as games to hone acting skills. Some great games that we've found (and hopefully will be acting out soon ourselves) are
  • Sit, Stand, Lean: 

    • Players - not limited, in multiples of 3
    • How to play - in the simplest cycle, 3 players play. One can sit, one stands, and only one leans. They act out a scene and while acting out, one person randomly changes their position - let's say from sitting to standing. At the same time, the other two must change their position accordingly to make sure that the equilibrium of only 1 person standing, 1 sitting and 1 leaning remains. Fun, and keeps everyone on their toes!
  • Foreign Film:
    • Players - not limited, even numbers only
    • How to play - if 4 are playing, then 2 act out the scene and 2 translate. The two "actors" are given a foreign country, and act out in a made-up foreign language. The other 2 translators stand and translate the act, by guessing what the actor could be saying. Confusingness results in hilarity!
  • Freeze!
      • Players: not limited, some will be playing and some standing by to play. one "controller"
      • How to play: 2, 3, 4 or more players start acting out a scene from a play. The controller watches and randomly yells out freeze - at which point all the actors freeze. The person who was currently acting now steps out of the scene and someone else from the actors standing by replaces him/her.     
        • Players: 2, 3 or 4
        • How to Play: You gotta have seen Whose Line Is It Anyway? This game tries to do exactly what they did in each show - get a bunch of scenarios, and a bunch of characters. Each player picks a character, and there's a collective scenario that gets chosen. The game - improvise!!
      Some exercises and games were taken from and For more acting games and exercises, check out -, and

      inventing the wheel

      We had to get the word out there. We at The Acting Wheel felt that we were on to something big and just had to share it with other people interested in acting in Karachi. We logged onto the magical world of facebook, and set this up. We did the usual - invited our own friends, asked them to invite theirs, and generally put blind faith in the wonderful power of social media.

      We set up the page, sent out invites and clicked refresh. Every fifteen minutes. (Rather uncannily like the ending scene of The Social Network actually).

      It worked.

      Within a day we were at 20 odd people. That seems small, but think about it. A day earlier we were just theory on paper. (Well on a laptop, we try to be green when we can. More on that dilemma later). A day later, we had atleast 17 seemingly sound-minded people interested in what we were saying.

      We were as excited as a bunch of six year olds discovering teenage mutant ninja turtles for the first time.
      From that point on, there was no looking back :)
      Join us to see what the drama's all about (literally)

      Have we started spinning yet?

      It was the winter of 2010. Well, as much winter as Karachi qualifies for anyway. We weren't friends before we all auditioned for a little-known play that hit Karachi in Feb '10 called Play it Again, Sam. The play itself was a bit too esoteric for Karachi, and never quite made it mainstream. We had an incredible time though, and made some friends for life.

      Flash forward a few months later, we realised that there wasn't really a drama club in Karachi where people could meet, act out regularly, get tips and advice on acting and generally let off steam and have FUN while acting! There really wasn't a place for amateur actors. Just professional performers and audiences. We decided it was time to break the divide, and let the amateur acting enthusiast who sits on the sidelines get centerstage for a change. We created the Acting Wheel!

      Who're we? Well we call ourselves sheen, khurram and q. You may meet us if you come to one of our regular acting meet-ups. One of us is incredibly funny, one is a bit goofy, and one is eccentric. All of us LOVE acting and love being in the spotlight. But don't worry, if you show up, we'll try to give you some space in the limelight too ;)