Is love a tender thing or a rude feeling that pricks like thorns? Nanzikambe Arts stage a story of love, hate and tragedy in the homecoming of an adaptation of William Shakespeareâ€™s Romeo and Juliet this week.
The theatrical chameleonsâ€™ African Romeo and Juliet, which debuted at Stratford Upon Avon (Shakespeare Birthplace) in England on August 25, will first appear at St Andrews International High School Wednesday night before goingÂ to Nanzikambe Arts CafÃ© in Naperi on Friday.
According to Nanzikambe managing director Chris Nditani, the play production marks the beginning of an educational initiative which will bring to life plays that are part of school literature syllabus.
â€œDrama offers not only a chance to enlighten students but also the chance to broaden their horizon and perspectives as well as capabilities to comprehend, analyse and interpret texts. These skills are necessary for their understanding not only of literature in English but other subjects as well,â€ said Nditani.
African Romeo and Juliet, directed by British dramaturgy Amy Bornsall, was redone on the invitation of Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in London.
ItsÂ castÂ includes Misheck Mzumara (Romeo), Maureen Mathala (Juliet), Nkhwachi Mhango (Bonvolio and Barthasar), Mphundu MjumiraÂ (Tybalt, Servant and Friar Lawrence), Geoffrey Mbene (the Prince and Mercutio), Dipo Katimba (Nurse) Hussein Gopole (Montague) and Jaffali Amadu Mussa.
Â â€œIt was an honour for me as a theatre artist to perform at the place where one of the best playwrights in the worldâ€”Shakespeareâ€”was born. Talking with actors of the Royal Shakespeare Company and watching their performances was inspirational,â€ said Mjumira
While maintaining its Elizabethan touch, the play has sporadic spates of modern English, Chichewa, Tumbuka and Yao.
Its return will kick-start a weekend like no otherâ€”for the cafÃ© will host a women festival on Saturday and Mibawa Band on Sunday evening.
According to a press statement by project manager Effie Makepeace, the â€˜Act Now Festivalâ€™ will bring together female musicians, theatre makers, dancers, visual artists, designers and poets to celebrate strength and rights of women in the arts.Â Headliners include veteran instrumentalist Beatrice Kamwendo and Mibawa Band co-vocalist Eunice Kadzuwa.