I had it figured in my head what kind of social scenes there are. Wedding, burial,church, chief’s meeting plus all sort of meetings. That was until “Hutia Ngoige” happened.
Produced by Gacheru wa Ngeeru and Mwana Mwende, directed by Lawrence Murage, and staged at KNT Ukumbi Mdogo, this was a classic piece of a 360 degree turn( Refer here).
This was set to be my play, dictated by the first scene- a social scene. In a bid to showcase Kenya to ambassadors, a trade fair is organized at the Nofok hotel featuring the masaai market,Gikomba and the happenings around them. I would try to describe this scene in as many words as there are in English but no amount of vocabulary would spew out what was coming out of the women’s mouth. This as the beginning set out the pace for what could only be incredible show.
After one of the trader’s “X….ing” everyone in Gikomba market due to Aids, the ambassador recognizes one of the traders as her sister and it was time to help her cross over to the other side .
In a bid to fit her in, the ambassador(her name escapes me) introduces the sister(Lydia) to her circle of Diamond sisters. These diamonds however do not mix with local “mwananchi”. Not when they are driving Porsche and run marathons in heels. Set out in a marathon, the ladies indulge us on their lack of understanding of why men drive small cars. I do not wish to repeat this here but they had me on the floor laughing with this one.
100 meters dash, 400 metres,800 metres, 4 by 4 relay and the hurdles run all got their pros and cons elaborated and if you know Johari productions, you know this had nothing to do with the actual marathon(wink wink). The diamond sisters in all their finesse have their own trainer who we learn can only do the 100 metres dash.
This paves way for a family set up of sort with two kids playing video games. After a tug of war between boys and girls games, the aunt(help) arrives and they take hilarity a notch higher. Try to describe to your illiterate aunt what a computer virus is, put some oomph to it and you get the reason why you needed to be in this show if not for anything else.
The grandfather arrives in the house, and being a first time cast member, this gentleman here needed a standing ovation for his role. His appearance and behaviour left nothing to doubt that they needed an old person and an old person is what he gave.
As we come to learn, this is the ambassador’s home who is away on some journey and the sister(Lydia) has taken over husband included. Taking her place as the step parent after getting engaged , she takes her step role seriously, stepping on everyone in-laws included.
Lydia gets engaged to the ambassadors husband and the wedding planning though a few lines need a mention on their own. The wedding venue is set for the city council offices.To ensure the city councils officers who harassed her during her “Gikomba” days witness this. And guess what role the ‘bodabodas” that were ferrying her trade wares, get?….. You are right, her wedding motorcade.
Fast forward to a mortuary, and the under world. Yes, you read that right. We had a peek at the after life. Opened by the recent case doing rounds of the necrophiliac, Lydia arrives still in her wedding gown. But this is not before the morgue attendants describe to us vividly how they ensure the dead remain dead. This may have been those…”NO YOU DID NOT SAY THAT”(insert your best shock face) scene but I was too amused to find any shock.
The dead describe how they met their death and the things they would have done better when alive. The play’s message is all clear at this point. “Dont drink and drive” and “Do what is right when alive before its too late because second chances rarely exist” We clearly could not have missed this with the serving amidst bounties and bounties of laughter.
The ambassador comes crying over the sisters body and she MIRACULOUSLY wakes up sending the whole scene into a frenzy. However, the attendants are ready with axes and stones to ensure as they put it, “Tutingitikira mbeca ciithiee o uguo.” The dead have to remain dead…….. Insert dramatic music.
I can gush on and on of how this play was but i’ll use the word used by my two people who I asked separately but repeated the same thing. The play was AMAZING.
You have no idea how short two and a half hours are until you are watching such a play.
I did not get a TG(Refer here) from this one but my favourite line
Lydia to her step children: “Munjitage mum kuma umuthi…..Mundu agerie kunjita tata anjire ndatitie ha”
Kudos to the team for a job well done