Drama followers in Malawiâ€™s capital, Lilongwe, sampled Nanzikambeâ€™s one man act Story of a Tiger over the weekend.
Geoffrey Mbeneâ€™s act magnificently engaged the audience with a fictitious story that tackles true-life plights the country has been going through, including the July 20, 2011 demonstrations in which 20 Malawians were allegedly killed by the police.
Adapted from the works of Italian playwright Dario Fo and reproduced by Nanzikambe producer Thoko Kapiri, Story of a Tiger alternates between the worlds of human beings and beasts of the jungle to advise citizens to ceaselessly question power-holders and always demand an accessible, and people-oriented government.
And Mbene brilliantly demonstrated this, questioning those in authority in Malawi to help those in needâ€”typical of the controversial Italian dramatist who was refused entry to the US during the 1970s, denounced by the Catholic Church and pulled off the airwaves of Italian TV.
Mbene is energetic and flexible, using the artistic means of narrative theatreâ€”language, speech and physical transformationâ€”to depict different scenarios and characters.
The story breeds humour but eventually develops into a depth of inevitable emotions.
The Story of the Tiger is an intense theatre solo of 50 minutes where we find a protesting citizen injured by brutal forces in the July 20 demonstrations, abandoned in the capital cityâ€™s animal sanctuary with a gangrene-riddled leg, slowly dying of thirst. Later, he is suddenly swept up in a flash flood and hides in the sanctuaryâ€™s cave.
He discovers, to his horror, that a tigress and her cub are the caveâ€™s resident landlords.
People who gathered at the Kamuzu College of Nursing were all praises for the actor and the play itself.
At intervals, the crowd that thronged the collegeâ€™s main lecture theatre was heard clapping hands and ululating as the play generated from one scene to another.
â€œIt was a beauty to watch the play. It was very interesting how the playwright coined the events of the July 20 demonstrations into something as humorous as this. Mbeneâ€™s is creativity at its bestâ€, said Charles Banda who travelled
from Area 49 to watch the play.