National Theatre Association of Malawi (Ntam) president Ian Chisekula has added weight to the suspension of Moto Wachilendo actors on allegations that they received kickbacks to sabotage the political play’s premiere two weeks ago.
Apart from putting the cast on the firing line, Moto Wachilendo playwright-cum-director Michael Usi (stage name Manganya) said he was “deeply sorry” as reports have emerged that some performers went against the script to give a packed Robins Park text handed down from unnamed political forces.
Admittedly “angered” by the revelations, the Ntam boss telephoned The Nation to ask actors to re-examine themselves and stop selling their conscience because it is suicidal as drama is battling to maintain and grow its following amid the prevailing economic downturn.
“The actors must be fully investigated and disciplined. If it is true that some actors were induced to interfere with the play, it is very sad—a setback to efforts towards making drama serious business. At present, dramatists are struggling to get a following and we cannot afford to breach the trust of those that support us,” said Chisekula.
He argued that for many, drama is a source of livelihood and those that have a hidden agenda “must stop denting our image.”
Moto Wachilendo got grim reviews for weak scripting, storyline, transition, casting, acting and other flaws Usi earlier attributed to censorship.
This week, he likened what the reported conspirators had done to “poisoning a spouse”.