Play puts spotlight on land reform

HARARE - The Taking, a play that explores complex issues surrounding the land issue in Zimbabwe, will be performed at Harare’s Theatre in the Park from April 21 to 23.

The play, written by Intwasa director Raisedon Baya and directed by Memory Kumbota, officially kick-started the Bulawayo Theatre 2015 calendar.

Ably executed on stage by a cast of five actors, the play fuses three stories that vividly demonstrate how farm invasions came about in this country. The play 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.

In the second part Sikhathele Pertunia Sontonga stands accused of murdering her adoptive father, a white farmer because she suspects that he was about to flee the country with all the wealth.

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

The main story is that of farm invasions which will naturally divide the audience because people are uncomfortable to talk about the issue 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 cast is an impressive ensemble of experienced Zimbabwean actors who include Zenzo Nyathi, Gift Chakuvinga, Aleck Zulu, Elton Sibanda and Musa Sibanda.

The play uses an experimental combination of different performance mediums including song, dance, physical theatre and storytelling to  challenges us to re-think story-telling in a modern African society.

Theatre in the Park is delighted to have finally managed to bring the play to Harare for the first time.

“Raisedon Baya’s play is particularly suited to Theatre in the Park (because) it uses creative forms of theatre to ask hard questions about our history and provoke important debates.

“The Taking is a reconstruction of Zimbabwean history, focusing on the fraught issue of land. Using song, dance, physical theatre, and storytelling, the play sensitively and intelligently navigates through the turbulence of the occupation and forced re-settlement of Africans in the early twentieth century, the war of liberation, and the farm invasions of the past fifteen years,” said Theatre in the Park in a statement.

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