A satirical play which chronicles Malawi’s journey since Independence in 1964 is being worked on by some local actors.
Led by Switzerland-based actor Geoffrey Mbene, the play features both established actors as well as up and coming actors and it will be premiered on July 31 in Zomba before being taken to other parts of the country.
Titled Mwahuno, Tumbuka word meaning today, the production is a reflection of Malawi’s 52-year journey of independence.
“But what does today mean? It is a question thrown not only at the political leadership but most interestingly at the governed, the common man. Through the expedition of political, religious, social, economic and cultural nose dive, what has been the role of the citizen? Who is Malawi and who are the Malawians? What potential do they have as the people? How is the people’s power underrated?” said Mbene in an interview.
The production is in a form known as documentary theatre.
“Media will be the key source of material for the project as opposed to me writing a script. I have been watching television, listening to the radio as well as reading piles of newspapers to gather material for the play. I will use direct quotes that all our leaders have used or anything synonymous with their tenure of office and use satire to communicate the same.
“I am also challenging the actors to find the information, critically think and start asking questions on certain issues. It’s a four week project with intensive rehearsals underway in Salima,” he explained.
The 75-minute play is a collaboration between the University of Arts in Switzerland, Nanzikambe Arts and Zipatso Academy in Salima.
“The play is a 15-cast member with 12 artists from Zipatso, two from Nanzikambe and two actors from University of Arts in Bern. The stories will be told through theatre, music and dance as a wake-up call for a functionalisation of an idle collective will of the oppressed by the structures
“It’s going to be a chaotic affair, theoretically on stage as we take people through a journey from when we were colonised to today. I am not specifically stuck in the political realm as the play will also talk of religion, culture and traditions among others,” stated the actor.
Mwahuno will be premiered on July 31 at Chancellor College before being taken to Lucky Luciano’s in Blantyre on August 2. Mzuzu University will sample the play on August 4 while Madsoc Theatre will be the venue for Lilongwe the following day.
Zipatso Academy is private secondary school which with promotes arts and critical thinking through an arts group.