Actor Waleed Zaidi recently spoke about theatre to students at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) on the occasion of their Drama Society orientation. The society, called Dramaline, invited Waleed to share his personal experience as a theatre actor and give pointers on how to successfully stage a production.
Waleed spoke extensively to students at LUMS on how theatre helps in real life in areas such as team building, improvisation, confidence and the like. He also encouraged students of acting to know their audience and shared the ways in which to accomplish this effectively through noting the audience one is performing to and unfortunately stereotyping to some extent. By doing this an actor will know what to say, when to say it and how to say it. He touched upon the obstacles faced by actors performing in Lahore specifically which includes AlHamra as an example, where he feels funds are not re-invested to improve the arts council in any way. There is a 60% tax imposed on selling tickets at AlHamra to be paid in advance via a pay order, which is then supposed to be “reimbursed” at a later date. This of course makes it very difficult for anyone wanting to hold a performance of any kind at AlHamra.
Waleed highlighted the importance of wit in actors which can do wonders for a successful performance and explained how theatre can really help build the skill. He shared a few things he has learnt along the way including how he accidentally got into acting when he entered an LGS (Lahore Grammar School) theatre competition. He recalls that he went with an unserious attitude in denim jeans, a bright orange t-shirt and a jacket. He ended up getting the lead role and is therefore proof that competitions can get hidden talent discovered. Waleed spoke to LUMS students about being confident in front of a tough audience and learning quickly how to know ones audience and improvise accordingly. He stressed on team work being the key in any production where one has to let the co-actor for instance, lead, if he/she is good. If the co-actor is inexperienced then one must take him along in a performance. Coexistence is of utmost importance according to Waleed as the theater play is the end product that the team has to collectively strive to make a success – it is never about individual egos.
Waleed enjoyed the interaction with students immensely his aim being to motivate and encourage them to pursue acting as a career and also give them a true insight into the world of an actor.
Waleed can currently be seen appearing in ARY’s drama Visaal, playing a character called Doodhpatti who is a street thief that the main character Akku takes under his wing and they end up forming a duo.