Play Review (Kunya Ngita)

Disclaimer: No amount of words can express what I really want to say about this play. However much I try and let it be known that I really tried.

Unless of course they  share the script, the actors, their emotions and expressions then I  put them up as the blog post.

If lets say, I wrote HeHeHe.  Put an exclamation mark after every ‘He’ for emphasis and added all the laughter and smile emoji’s on my phone that is the memory I would like to elicit with this play in the future.

By now am sure you are wondering what is this she is raving about can’t she  get to the play already.

Here is the point, Renegade ventures staged their end of year play, Nairobi edition  at the Kenya National Theatre between 2nd to the 4th of December 2016.

The Play was Kunya Ngita (play a guitar)

Kunya Ngita – I’ll leave that for you to interpret what it  meant and let it involve a man, woman and a bed-  was an example of how every production house should take a bow in 2016.  Stage a play that will make you be missed.

If maybe in another world ‘Kunya Ngita’ was a business and  I got the opportunity to have the business idea pitched to me(exactly how it was staged) and I was  asked to invest in it at the end, With no second though you would be reading of me in jail   having sold  all existing and non-existing  land near me just to have a share in the business. Does that analogy make sense? Neither did it to me.

All I am trying to say is, its very easy to have me “kwanirira miatu” (telling where the beehives are-Kikuyu saying) when you sell me happiness?

Opening in General Theodore’s home, celebrations are underway to welcome Baire, Theodore’s daughter who has just graduated from university. The home comprises of Theodore, his three wives, his aging parents and they all live in a road reserve which we can therefore call a community of road reservists (ha). Preparations continue accompanied by the true Kikuyu celebration songs that you only hear in the village or that were song ages ago called ndemi na mathathi in Kikuyu.

What Baire, the graduate does not know is that not only are they celebrating her graduation, the parents have secretly organized to marry her off in the same graduation ceremony. Call it a two in one kind of situation.

As we come to learn, the parents have already received a dowry deposit from the bow legged mole hunter from Kutus.  To put this into context, the Kikuyu spoken in Kutus has different pronunciation and meaning of some Kikuyu words spoken in other places let’s say Kiambu. The differences in the pronunciations provide a basis for a subplot that is hilariously exploited in the whole play.

The parents are content with the Kes 100,000 from the mole hunter until “K-squared” arrives offering them Kes 200,000 just as a ‘greeting’.

What precedes this offer is what made my side hurt from laughter. From the arrival of the boastful ‘K Squared’, his antics including demeaning the village, the home, the people, the headman introducing the neighboring villages, coupled with Theodore’s outburst was my favorite scene of the play. A scene I would have repeated in all plays in the future if this was my circus.

KSquared: Ningunyua mai (ill have a cup of water)

(Water is brought in a cup)

Ksquared: Mai maya ni ma muberethi kana ni ma irima? (Is the water from a tap or a borehole?)

Wamuyu: Ni ma irima. ona ma muberethi guku makoragwo mari ma irima (from a borehole. Even tap water is from a borehole

Ksquared: Cokia, ndikunyua. ndinyuaga mai ma ciura.(take the water back. I don’t take frog water)

On arrival, from school, Baire on her end claims she has a campus boyfriend who may not have much but she plans on building a future with. The parents will have none of this since according to them, Baire is their ticket out of poverty.

Baire: Ndi na boyfriend uria nyendete (I have a boyfriend whom I love)

Theodore: niwakimwenda iii ithui ni twa kimwenda? (Fine. You love him, who says we love him?)

Wamuyu: Mwahuta muritinagia kawendo mukaria? (When hungry will you be cutting and eating a piece of love)

Kung’ure from kimborey the campus boyfriend arrives and even in our eyes, he looks more of a KCPE candidate than a grown man trying to woo a lady for marriage. As sure as Baire said, Kungurey has nothing to his name not even fare to get back to wherever he came from.

As Theodore aptly puts it, you can be Kung’urey trying to be Willypozee but huna Bahati (got it?)

On learning the parents will not give her off to anyone with no money, Baire steals the Kes 300 000 brought by the previous suitors and gives Kungu’urey to bring as his dowry payment.

What could go wrong when the previous bidders come for the lady and realize there is no money nor is there a lady on offer?

That is what you needed to come find out in the 2.5hrs play that saw me get a seat change in the middle because apparently, my creaking seat could only accommodate either my weight or laughter but not the two combined.

Sincerely speaking, it’s been a while since I laughed in the theatre the way I did watching Kunya Ngita. This play reminded me of  “Mburi cia ngoma”, a play staged a while back that refuses to leave my mind and all other plays get to be judged against it. Call it my self-adopted SI unit of what a good play should be.

To the cast: J.M Irungu, Wakonyo Mwaura, Cevelina Mwihaki, Njeri Kariuki, Njuguna wa Gichira,Birham Nderitu, Carol Njenga, Aquinas Karanja, Wangechi wa Ndamberi, MC Biu, Wanjiru wa Kiarie, Kiritu wa Njeri, Chege Muthamaki , Gitau wa Mitambo (also the play’s director), and the producer Kimiti wa Gitau,  heko for a beautiful play and a good way to the end the year from the stable at least for the Nairobi edition.

As I have mentioned here before, and still believe in, you can never go wrong with a play that has a social ceremony. Hata kama ni goat eating. There is something about social ceremony that brings out the comic in us and two, it’s impossible to have a social scene with a small cast (And we all know by now that I am a sucker for large casts).


Me throughout the whole play

The African Traveler when referring to the play simply  said: “It was the best”

Things I learnt from the play :

Kanua ni Ikahu na nikariaga kiongo

Gynaecologist– Ndagitari wa Mwanya (If that is translated it loses the intended meaning)    download

ION: Who is this Ng’ang’a Francis, that keeps being mentioned in a majority of the Kikuyu songs?


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