Two plays begin national tour

HARARE - Two plays — Water Games by Jens Vilela Neumann and The Taking written by Raisedon Baya and directed  by Memory Kumbota — have been chosen to go on a national tour as part of Nhimbe Trust’s agenda to promote the expansion of the theatre genre.

Dubbed “Cultural Decentralisation National Theatre Tour,” the initiative being supported by Africalia, seeks to develop new works and audiences for Zimbabwean theatre.

Nhimbe Trust communications manager Ronald Moyo told the Daily News that the national tour will cover Bulawayo, Harare, Masvingo, Gweru and Mutare from this weekend and run until early next year.

“The tours will start with a staging of The Taking at Bulawayo Theatre on Friday at 6pm, with an entry fee of $3. Dates for the performances of the plays at the venues outside Bulawayo will be advised in due course,” Moyo said.

He added that the initiative, that started last year, was steadily registering some notable gains in Zimbabwe’s theatre sector.

Last year, the Cultural Decentralisation National Theatre Tour saw Washington Junction by Edzai Isu Theatre Arts Project and Half Empty, Half Full by Savanna Trust being taken to the country’s major cities.

The Taking, written by Intwasa director Baya and directed by Kumbota, explores complex issues surrounding the land issue in Zimbabwe.

It begins with a folktale pitting albino hippos from the Atlantic and the indigenous crocodiles in a Zimbabwean river. This introductory part captures the philosophy behind Zimbabwe’s history and the war of liberation.

The second plot is that of Sikhathele Pertunia Sontonga, who stands accused of murdering her adoptive father, a white farmer, she suspected was about to flee the country with all the wealth.

Interestingly, after committing the heinous crime she discovers that the farmer had written a will leaving everything in her name.

The main story is that of farm invasions, a story that most Zimbabweans can identify with. It is a story that people usually feel uncomfortable to talk about for fear of being accused of political expediency or of being seen as unsympathetic to the plight of white farmers, depending on the angle one chooses to take.

The play boldly attempts to give a true presentation of how the farm invasions unravelled and the various forces that were at play.

The play opened the 2015 Theatre calendar at Bulawayo Theatre and has also been performed in Harare.

The second play titled Water Games was adapted from An Enemy of the People, an 1882 play by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen.

The political satire looks at how politics interfere with the day-to-day running of local government systems as well as government business in general.

In the original play, Dr. Stockmann, the lead actor, discovers that the new baths built in his town are infected with a deadly disease and instructs the town to repair or close the baths. The Mayor, who is Dr Stockmann’s brother, does not believe the report and refuses to close the baths because it will cause the financial ruin of the town.

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