UAE theatre production 'A Literary Affair' to be released on streaming platform Viu

The collection of three English-language plays was written and performed by talents living in the Emirates

Written and performed by Farzana Esmail, 'SSHHH!' is one of three plays in 'A Literary Affair'. Photo: Cultural Majlis
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

A series of short theatrical productions showcasing local talent will be released on streaming platform Viu.

A Literary Affair is a collection of three English-language plays that have been written and performed by talents living in the UAE. The collection, in partnership with Cultural Majlis productions, will be on Viu from 5pm on Friday.

The plays are The Promotion, which tells the story of a department store employee who hopes for career progression; On Air, which dives into the mind of a radio host as he struggles to separate from his listeners; and SSHHH! the story of a girl who, after constantly being told to keep quiet and compromise, discovers speaking up is crucial.

A scene from 'On Air', written and performed by Asad Raza Khan. Photo: Cultural Majlis

“This is a very special project. The thought of putting the UAE theatrical scene in front of global audiences was a chance we could not miss,” said director Mohammad Faizan. “The transition and merger of two mediums meant double the challenge on the part of the cast and crew. Not only did we want to keep the spirit of theatre alive, but also make sure that they are crafted and produced fit for the screen as well.”

Faizan said A Literary Affair is going to spearhead the local theatre scene’s push into the digital world.

“We are starting with a series of short plays, as it is the era of Reels, Shorts and Snapchats,” he said. “We will look to expand to full-length productions next — all here in the UAE.”

Digital theatre is a direct by-product of the pandemic. Social-distancing measures and logistical challenges made it difficult to hold performances in an in-person setting. Theatre producers, as with those working in other areas of entertainment, were forced to innovate, taking Broadway plays and musicals, such as Hamilton, online and allowing audiences to participate in interactive shows.

“Theatre and Cinema/Digital are being merged all across the world,” says Asad Raza Khan, the writer of The Promotion and On Air. “It was our wish to start this journey in Dubai as well.

"The theatrical scene in the country has grown leaps and bounds over the past few years, thanks to the government and other patrons of the arts in UAE, and it was time for it to be showcased on an online platform.

"It was a pleasure sharing the stage (and screen) with some great talents who came together to tell some fantastic stories! This was challenging as we had to merge the acting necessities of both stage and screen — which are very different.”

Updated: March 04, 2022, 1:25 PM