Celebrated playwright Smith Likongwe has written a book of four plays Kamuzu Banda, Mission to Nyanjania, Stop the Fire and Love and Tears.
In an interview, Likongwe said the book, titled Kamuzu Banda and Other Plays, will be launched on March 31 at Malawi Sun Hotel in Blantyre with a grand unveiling at the Bingu International Convention Centre (Bicc) in Lilongwe on April 24.
“After launch, there are plans to produce and present the plays in the book to the public. There are also plans of shooting the Kamuzu Banda play into a movie. All this shall require funds that we do not have now, but it [funding] will be sought.
“This book should be a treasure to every household because a play is not only enjoyable, but also easier to read as it mainly uses dialogue. It is also unique because it is a combination of completely fictitious plays and a true-life story of an extra-ordinary character in Malawian society,” he said.
Likongwe added the inspiration for the book is the fact that Malawi is lagging in terms of publication of plays and other literary works.
“When you read most books that educate people about African theatre, the examples they give about plays is from South Africa about apartheid, plays by Nigerian and Kenyan playwrights and a few other countries. Malawi is hiding the lamp of literature.
“The truth on the ground, however, is that we have many written plays but unpublished. Therefore, out of my over 150 plays I thought that some of these should be in book form,” he said.
Commenting on the Kamuzu Banda play which takes up 97 of the 192 pages, Likongwe states that it was motivated by the founding father’s contribution to the society.
“The play maintains historical accuracy in spite of the dramatisation and can be relied upon in terms of hard facts,” he said.
According to the book’s summary, the play Love and Tears is about machinations, intrigue and conspiracies of various characters in a historical and cultural set up.
On the other hand, Mission to Nyanjania was the winning play in 1995 Association for the Teaching of English in Malawi (Atem) Drama Festival. It was performed by Likuni Boys Secondary School.
“It is among the greatest plays to be performed in the Atem contest since its inception in 1969. It is a play that takes place in future in Malawi on Earth and in Nyanjania on Mars. It is a science fiction play,” reads the summary.
This is a second book Likongwe is launching in under four months. In December, through the Chancellor College Travelling Theatre, he released an anthology of five African plays written by eight distinguished dramatists from Malawi, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Previously, the playwright also wrote plays about Malawi’s former presidents. In his book Living Playscripts-a Trilogy, there are plays such as Bakili’s Wit, The Tragedy of Bingu and Amai’s Turn. n