Witnessing the intellectual and aesthetic degradation of a significant cultural artist is a difficult thing for many reasons; first and foremost, it signals the gradual implosion of an aesthetic heritage and secondly it means that the urgent calling for a new aesthetic momentum becomes imminent. Anwar Maqsood was one of the principle archetypal voices that resonated through the aesthetic-cultural parlance of Pakistan. It was a voice that was synonymous with artistic temerity and courageous artistry. That voice has been abducted; it has been lost in the thick din of grimy and gimcrack clatter. When an audience know something that a character in a play doesn’t then we would say that what we have is a fair degree of dramatic irony, but what classification of irony defines an audience knowing something that the dramatist/playwright doesn’t. If you happened to see Siachen then it is likely that you knew something that the dramatist did not. You understood that Anwar Maqsood is the abductor of his own voice. Calling Siachen one of his lesser works would be being too kind, it would be being deferential towards his immense cultural stature. We must understand though, that we cannot create a nationally rich aesthetic worldview if we are not willing to chastise our own. If you are honest then you will have walked out of Siachen thinking that Anwar Maqsood has become a plague of a playwright, a story-teller who has started retailing the cheap trinkets of asininity. Whatever is left of the man’s intellect is now populated by oafish characterisations and senile plot (hole) lines. Siachen is a tardy depiction of Pakistani soldiers deployed in Siachen. It was suppose to be a serious examination of the lives and tribulations of Soldiers (It was not marketed as a slapstick) serving in a sadistic and unforgiving terrain. Instead, it is ninety minutes of reducing the army to the most pixiesh juvenility imaginable. Here are a couple of depictions that will impress themselves upon you while watching the play; Firstly, Pakistani Sepoys are callow, ignorant and impish. They possess absolutely no technological and scientific intelligence. The scenes where the soldiers encounter a camera are particularly cringe worthy. Secondly, one can only celebrate the camaraderie of the soldier class by consciously endorsing denigratory social stereotypes. It is a tragedy that someone who is eighty years old has still not understood how symbolically poisonous the patronisation of these false attributes are. Thirdly, critical ideological scepticism must only be directed towards the PML-N and not towards other parliamentary and extra parliamentary institutes. We all adore a sceptical playwright but a selectively sceptical playwright should be met with scepticism. The entire play is riddled with jokes that rally against the corruption of the PML-N but has little to say against the alternative perpetrators of corruption in Pakistan. It comes across as nothing more than sluggish and stupid propaganda. Fourthly, a script for the stage can be found on the same principles as a script for the screen. Punctuating the play with incessant blackouts to signify the progression of time can work as an effective ‘editing strategy’. Forget about using the theatre as a space for the intense condensation of time; instead use it to create a montage of accelerated scenes that hold no weight in the dynamic centring of time. In other words, Anwar Maqsood forgot that a stage is not a cinema. Fifthly, humour is the singularly most important dramatic and performative value and should work only towards evoking laughter and not towards a developmental examination of the thematic coordinates of the play. Lastly, characters are best depicted through a hyper-caricaturised ensemble. Human beings must be exaggerated to be understood, for after all, who has the intelligence and time for anything less? To a great extent this reveals how Anwar Maqsood now sees the stage as a sterile tableau for the staging of vulgar typifications. That being said, the energy that the cast and the director have poured into the project is remarkable. The work ethic and passion of the KopyKats team is inspiring. None of it though is enough to mask Siachen as Anwar Maqsood’s sad trek into oblivion.