The Wrong Bashir

Written by:

Zahida Rahemtulla

Artist/Creator(s) Identify As:

D/deaf, Disabled, and/or Mad
Person/People of Colour

Cast Size:
9

Roles For:

  • Indigenous Peoples: 2
  • LGBTQ+: 3
  • Men: 5
  • People of Colour: 9
  • People with Disabilities: 3
  • Women: 4

Genre:

Comedy
Farce

Themes:

Family
Healing Intergenerational Trauma
Mistaken Identity

Length:

95 min.

Year Written:

2023

Synopsis:

Bashir Ladha—wayward philosophy major leaning towards nihilism—has been selected to assume an important religious position, and his parents have dutifully accepted on his behalf. Family conflict ensues over Bashir’s reaction to his appointment. As the doorbell rings and several unexpected visitors turn up at the Ladha door, there is a sneaking suspicion that a mistake has been made, and the family is taken on a comedic intergenerational ride that forces them to grapple with long-avoided questions of identity and family.

Characters:

Bashir Ladha (early 20s)
Our reluctant hero, hipster (the kind who would be offended if you called him one). Looking to find his place in the world and his family.

Najma Ladha (Bashir’s mother, late 50s)
Soft-spoken and wonky, though only her kids know how wonky she really is, everyone else says “oh, your mom is so cute!”

Sultan Ladha (Bashir’s father, early 60s)
Soft-hearted and philosophical. Laughs at his own jokes.

Nafisa (Bashir’s younger sister, 17 years old)
Spunky, realizes things as she says them, very earnest. She’s able to get to the heart of the matter quickly. She’s goofy and a comedian, the youngest.

Al-Nashir Manji (Council Representative, late 50s)
Has spent much of his life in the Ismaili bureaucracy and it shows. He speaks as if he’s making announcements. An air of formality, even as he discusses the weather.

Mansour (His assistant, 70s)
His vocation has always been khane (Ismaili mosque) and serving it. He knows everyone. The kind of guy who frantically searches for his glasses, finds them on top of his head, and laughs (hard) every time.

Nana/Dawood (Bashir’s grandfather, early 80s)
Playful. His instinct is to assume good in others, retains the heart of a clown even as his Alzheimers sets in. His heart wakes up when he talks to his grandchildren or tells a joke.

Nani/Farida (Bashir’s grandmother, early 70s)
Clever, sharp, and pious. Her life has always been khane.

Gulzar (friend of Nana & Nani late 70s)
Her life is the back row of ladies at khane. She knows your business, even if you don’t know her.

Young Man (Early 20s) (only says one line at the end of the play)
The kind of child parents tell their kids they should be more like.

First Produced:

2023 - Touchstone Theatre Vancouver - World premiere

Resources:

The play can be accessed by emailing zr308@nyu.edu