Migrant Arts and Mzuzu University Theatre Arts Group (Mutag) have collaborated to stage a remake of a South African play The Island written by Athol Fugard.
The virtual performance is aimed at raising funds for the Private Citizens Covid-19 Response Initiative championed by Switzerland-based Malawian social influencer and writer Onjezani Kenani and United Kingdom-based Thandie Hara.
In an interview, Thokozani Kapiri of Migrant Arts, who has directed the play and will star alongside Misheck Mzumara of Mutag, said they are of the view that although the arts industry has been heavily affected, they should not fail to contribute to the noble efforts to raise funds to fight the pandemic.
“Onjezani Kenani is a writer we collaborated with before at Nanzikambe Arts. Therefore, it makes sense to not only raise awareness and funds towards Covid relief, but also to entertain Malawians and to lift the spirits of those who have lost their loved ones,” he said in an interview.
Kapiri said the play will be staged at Club 31 near Mzuzu Hotel on February 28.
“Only 50 people will be allowed in the venue to sit one metre apart. Patrons will be asked to wear face masks and sanitise at the entrance. At the same time, we will virtually stream the play live on Mzumara’s and my Facebook pages,” said Kapiri.
He said well-wishers will be allowed to make contributions towards the cause.
“We encourage the audience to transfer funds directly to the Covid-19 relief funds before, during and after the show,” he said.
Kapiri, who is an adjunct lecturer in the Communications Department at Mzuzu University, encouraged people to follow the play as it is entertaining and educative.
In a separate interview, Mzumara said they are prepared for the performance.
“We have sought assistance from some colleagues conversant with information communication technology to assist us on the day. Club 31 is also helpful in arranging special lighting,” he said.
The Island is a play about two delusional men John and Winston who must perform an Eurocentric classic, Antigone before an audience.
While one of them is okay with the play, the other actually wishes to represent his own African stories, leading to a conflict of whose stories should black people represent on stage.