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Playing by the rules
A game of pool and a couple of drinks can lead to so many things.
A new play explores the psyche of your typical Asian man and the result is an enthralling piece of work.
‘Snookered’ is the first stage production written by Ishy Din.
Directed by Iqbal Khan, the play was commissioned by Tamasha and developed through their Tamasha Developing Artists Programme. The UK tour begins in Oldham on 2 February.
On the sixth anniversary of T’s death, his four friends meet for a game of pool to honour his memory.
Speaking to Asian Image, Ishy, a taxi-driver from Middlesbrough said his intention was to portray something different about Pakistani men.
“There is huge misconception about what young British Asian men are about. We’re just regular people with regular hang-ups.
“If you watch TV and read newspapers you would think Pakistani males are either terrorists or drug dealers!
“The work is based on my world of the working class British Pakistani guy.
“On a regular evening you go out with your friends. You may play some snooker, get some food and go home. “I think the biggest compliment I got was told the play could be about anyone regardless of race and religion. This could be about white men as well as black men.
“The trials and tribulations people go through are relevant to everyone.”
In the play one man works in a halal butchers and another married a white woman against the wishes of his family. She then left him.
Ishy says he got some of his inspiration from being a taxi-driver. A job he has been doing for twenty years.
“The work is not based on one particular person. But on the road you will find you meet everybody. And I ended-up remembering specific characteristics.
“You don’t know who you are going to meet and you come across all sorts of people. I find that people tend to be open to cabbies.
“I worked out that I had maybe spoken to 150,000 people over the years!”
Ishy’s first play John Barnes Saved My Life was shortlisted as part of Radio 5 Live’s Sports Shorts competition and broadcast in 2004.
He wrote a piece for the BBC1 Brief Encounters series (2005); has written for BBC Radio Newcastle; and came second in the British Asian writing competition BANG! in 2007 (run by Oldham Coliseum and Tamasha).
He added, “I feel privileged that Tamasha has afforded me the opportunity to express myself, otherwise my voice as a northern British Asian would be muted and my attempts to open a window on a largely unexplored world would be firmly shut.” And his next work will look at another forgotten species – the Middle aged Asian man.
“My new work will be ‘Approaching Empty’ which is about taxi-drivers . And the third play will explore the lives of the first generation of Asians who came to the country in 1960s.”
‘Snookered’ will be showing from 2-8 February at the Oldham Coliseum Theatre at the Oldham University Campus. For tickets call: 0161 624 2829 £15 (£12.80/£5 concessions).
It is also on showing at LANCASTER: The Dukes, Moor Lane, Lancaster from 9-11 February 2012 call 01524 598 500.