AIK Productions, with Tara Arts, presents Combustion, a brand new play by Asif Khan exploring faith, sex & gender in the UK. Combustion’s UK Tour arrives in Margate on 2 July and it’s going to be quite the show!
Here’s Asif Khan fielding some questions…
What was your first experience of theatre?
My first experience of watching theatre was, I think, a school trip as a child to see Macbeth, I think at The Crucible in Sheffield. I remember being impressed by the performances, but thinking ‘I didn’t expect Macbeth to be bald!’.
Your portrayal of Samina is very real and raw – do you find it hard to write characters of the opposite sex?
Samina is based on 3 different people. Two female friends I had from Bradford, and me! I wanted to represent the opposite of the current stereotype of a British Muslim woman. Samina is super intelligent, quick, fiery, confident, passionate, strong, as well as sometimes aggressive and impolite. She is proud of her Britishness and Muslim identity. I hope she will be the voice of many British Muslims who currently feel very under-represented. I didn’t find it too difficult to write her part actually, as I had real people to base her on, and as a British Muslim myself, I understand her feelings about how it feels to be British in today’s world.
Do you have a mascot on your desk? If not, what would you have?
A photo of my wife and 6 month old baby boy. They’re my inspiration and world.
If you weren’t in theatre, what would you be doing?
II think I would probably be a painter. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed since I was a child.
Do you get nervous when starting the rehearsal process? Does it feel different being a writer to being an actor?
First day nerves are always there, but so is excitement. I’m quite used to the process as an actor, as I’ve done it many times. As an actor, a first day of rehearsal is where your journey begins, but as a writer, you’ve kind of done most of your work. Of course, there might be a few re-writes during the rehearsal process, as there always is on new work. It’s the first time actors are taking your words and breathing life into them. It’s a different feeling as a writer, but just as thrilling. Especially, when you have a passionate, talented team all bringing there individual creativity to your script. I literally can’t wait to get started!
What are you most looking forward to about the tour of Combustion?
Of course seeing it with an audience for the first time. I hope it entertains them and makes them laugh, but also breaks stereotypes and misconceptions about Muslims. I really hope that Muslim audiences can identify with the characters. I’ve not tried to shy away from anything. Some of it is quite hard hitting. It hopefully represents the good and the bad. Most importantly, it’s the truth of what I feel and see. It’s from the heart and that’s all I can bring.