A rehearsed reading at Home Theatre, Manchester; Saturday 20th January, 2018
30 Days is the story of Adil – a young man from Old Trafford who finds himself at an emotional dead end as he struggles to put together the complex jigsaw pieces that make up his life – most notably the powerful and overwhelming forces of religion, family, and girlfriend.
The 30 days being referred to in the play’s title are those that make up the month of Ramadan, when devout Muslims are expected to abstain from food and drink during daylight hours in order to be able to more fully empathise with those who are less fortunate than themselves. In the case of Adil though, it seems he may have started his abstinence from food much earlier than Ramadan.
As part of Home Theatre’s Push Festival 2018, Box of Tricks Theatre have taken over the performing spaces for a day and 30 Days is the first of their up and coming productions to be given an airing. The play has been created by Mancunian writer Furquan Akhtar, who is making his first venture into theatre having already achieved writing success on both TV and radio.
Delivered as a rehearsed reading, Kamal Kaan takes on the lead role of Adil as he engages with multiple other characters in his life. The plot revolves around an ongoing interaction between Adil and his counsellor, a seemingly awkward and unproductive stand-off as Adil firmly maintains a deliberately distant stance, unwilling to take part in his own recovery. But as the conversation deviates into the realm of idle banter, Adil seems to loosen up, eventually offering up little details and anecdotes that go a long way to explaining his predicament.
The script is an exploration of various connected issues. A young Muslim man feels disconnected from society; even those things that have been nearest to him throughout life now seem unfamiliar: his mother and his religion. And then he finds himself in a new relationship, one which he seems to want to save but which he just can’t understand.
30 Days seems to be a story about control: how to know when you’ve lost it, how to regain it, how to hold on to it, and – most relevantly for Adil – how to ultimately avoid all the confusion and difficulties associated with it.