Malawian actress O’tooli Masanza has been featured in a multinational play, Global Players.
The play was this week premiered at the Landes Theatre in Tubingen, Germany, where Masanza is currently based.
is a combination of several stories with African child slavery and surrogate mothers in the West taking centre stage.
It’s a play of seven actors namely Masanza, Lassana Justin Yao from Burkina Faso, Konstantin Frolov and Svetlana Chaplygina from Russia, Veronika Reichard, Steffen Riekers and Raul Semmler from Germany, with Clemens Bechtel as director.
“My role in the play revolves on a young German woman who wants to make a documentary on a West-African cocoa plantation to call the world’s attention to child-slavery. A young girl from Mali, Marriam, played by myself leaves her home to earn money on the plantation in Burkina Faso.
“She wants to go back home some day in the future as a respected woman. The German filmmaker sees her as a slave, forced to work on the cocoa plantation, but the girl sees herself as somebody who wants to make quick money,” said Masanza in an interview.
She added that the play is based on findings of a research that shows the existence of child slavery in some parts of Africa especially in Mali and Burkina Faso, where children under the age of 17 work in the cocoa industry.
In a different interview, Bechtel said the idea was to bring together talent from different parts of the world.
“The talent and experiences of these people necessitated the play and I wanted something based on true life happenings, hence having two storylines. Child labour is cruel – but what do you do, if the children themselves see a last resort in it? Can they do anything? These are some of the main questions in the play,” he said.
“The other line takes place in Russia and Germany: a homosexual German male couple want to have a baby. They buy an egg cell in the United States and let a Russian surrogate mother carry their baby for them.She is paid for it but is that a win-win situation? These are elements we are exploring,” said Bechtel.
In the end, the German filmmaker ‘buys’ the freedom for Marriam but she does not want to go home without money and stays on the cocoa plantation. Meanwhile, the Russian surrogate mother is pregnant with triplets but the German couple wants only one baby. So there is an abortion and only one baby is left. The Russian mother decides after the abortion to keep the last baby herself and to go without the money.