Nairobi has smart and sassy theatre in May
April 26, 2012
For Concierge magazine
By margaretta wa gacheru
The Nairobi theatre scene in May will be a biting and bubbly affair with several smart, juicy productions. Expect quite a few comedic twists and turns from all four productions, even when plots thicken and weighty themes like corruption, tribalism and high crimes come into play.
Phoenix Players will produce two shows in May. One is being staged in collaboration with the Italian Institute of Culture. It’s a situation comedy by Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello, called Right you are (If you think you are), which opens May 4 and runs through the 19th.
Directed by Millicent Ogutu, the plot involves a government official who is posted to a small town where the rumor factory runs wild when word gets out that the official has two women with him living in separate spaces. It doesn’t matter that one’s a wife, the other’s a mother-in-law. In this town where everyone knows everyone, the new man and his women fuel the fire of juicy rumor-mongering. Tickets are going for Sh650 for adults and Sh400 for students.
The other script being staged at Phoenix in May is a premier production of a brand new Kenyan playwright, Louise Wambua, directed by George Mungai. ‘Smoke’ is a political satire about a classic Kenyan politician who’s juggling a wife, mistress, sibling, right-hand man and big money that goes ‘missing’right before his eyes. Bottom line ‘Smoke’s about corruption and government cash. But it’s also a ‘whodunit’ with a Kenyan flare. Smoke opens May 25th.
Meanwhile, over at Alliance Francaise, the Festival of the Creative Arts (FCA) also takes on the theme of corruption earlier in the month when it stages Dirty Sexy Money by Larry Beghel. This ‘comedy-thriller’ also features a lusty politician who alternatively chases money and women. But he’s not alone. Everyone in this playful production is plotting and double dealing in a way that promises hilarious entertainment in true FCA style.
Finally, the last weekend in May, SitawaNamwalia also indulges in political satire, only with a poetic edge. ‘Cut off my tongue’ began as a powerful collection of poetry by this talented Kenyan writer-actress whose first career was in development work, which she gave up to pursue her twin passions of poetry and performance.
Cut off my tongue also tackles such topics as corruption and tribalism, but she does so with a deft and subtle hand of an artist who knows how to woe an audience with sweet words and rich insight. She will share the Braeburn Theatre stage with Alice Wanjiru Karunditu, Shan Bartley and Willy Rama on drums and wood winds. It’s better to book a seat early since Namwalia only stages Tongue once a month on the last weekend. Tickets are going for Sh1,000.