Heartstrings’ end of year play “Kenya made in China” ran for two weeks between 9-21st 2014. I made an appearance during its second week of staging and as always, here is a low down of how things went down.
Directed by Sammy Mwangi assisted by Ndeng’a, the 2.5 hrs play in keeping up with heartstrings theme takes you through a whirlwind of the current happenings in the country. This was one of those plays you resonate with so well, maybe can even direct from familiarity of the experiences, but since we are not Sammy, we all get to keep our day jobs.
The opening scene was a meeting of different church leaders and with the current happenings in the country, no points for guessing what churches they represented. The church leaders did a splendid job with their scene .They provided double M( one of the church leaders) with advice on how to pull of great acting in her church in order not to give the churches a bad name. This involved auditions for the church testimony and if there is a word for hilarious amplified, this was it.
The second scene showed the difference between boys and girls and the difference in how they interpret different scenarios. The Matatu industry and the always complaining Kenyans got number three scene spot and its always hilarious how Kenyans and the matatu crew are always at loggerheads this said when watching a play and not when directly involved in the scuffles. The recent no show international act too got a spot and I can say this was my favorite scene. Combined with Kenyans having no problem missing out on Kenyan musicians as opening acts all the while waiting forever for the no show international acts, the message got home especially kwa wale wakenya wenye tabia kama hizi.
One scene I was sure could not miss especially since the play was staged in Nairobi was the women stripping by the self-proclaimed decency police. This was the last act and I can testify the message got across. It was clear the stripping was not only by those who did the actual removal of clothes but also by those who stood by and did nothing, as well as those who forwarded the videos around. Being a very emotional subject to put across, tears by the cast went a long way in bringing forth the severity of the situation.
Overall, the play was really nice and the messages well delivered. Couple that to the experienced cast, the few new faces blended in just right.
On the time front, thumbs up for time well kept. The play started exactly at 3.15pm and we were barely half-full by then. For a hall that was almost full by the end, this was a very good lesson to all those African timers out there. Note: We did not ask kama ni 600 juu tunaenda na actors as said by your narrator but next year, let’s all have a happy nation by keeping the fee at 500. Thank you, I knew you would listen.
Tales from theatre halls takes a bow for the year 2014. Have yourselves a merry Christmas and a prosperous new year. Talk to you in the New Year.