Play Review (Ruma Kindu)

“Have you been to watch a play?”

“Play ni nini? Drama?”

That’s the response I always anticipate when I ask those a little advanced in years if they have been to watch a play.

And as sure as hell, this is the answer I get on Friday two weeks ago when I ask a friend if they have been to watch a play.

After establishing a play is the same as a drama just like a tomato is a fruit, we set off to catch Fanaka Arts “Ruma Kindu” running at the Kenya National Theatre “Ukumbi Mdogo”.

On the way over, I am wearing my sense of self-confidence on the play the same way I am wearing my loose jacket.  My companion for the play is way older, and I cannot imagine any cringe-worthy moments or any experience short of amazing for the play ahead.

This wavering confidence is slowly but surely dispelled when the show starts.  Opening in ‘walking in dominion’ ministry, Dad and Mum (names used to refer to the Pastor(Maina Ndamberi) and Mrs Pastor (Maryanne Nyambura)) are in a meeting deliberating on ways to win more followers for the church. Ngatia and Sly, worship leader and church secretary respectively are also in the meeting that is a jocular reminisce of what they have done in the past on gullible followers. The gullibility of the church members is best depicted when Sly gives an account of how she utilises her Ksh 30,000 monthly salary with three quarter (¾) of it going back to the church.

In the course of organising a trip to town for the Mary-Mary duo, we learn of the sneaky ‘unchurch’ dealings happening between Ngatia, Pastor and Sly within the church premises. It’s clear on the other hand, that Mrs Pastor is a descendant daughter of the Nyeri region depicted by the kicking and scratching she uses to keep the pastor in line all with a smile plastered on her face.

As the play progresses, it is clear that everyone-Pastor, Ngatia, Sly, Kanyi(Pablo Kimani) and Nyokabi (siblings to Mrs Pastor) are all out to get Mrs Pastor. Various coalitions are formed, with a common plan to kill Mrs Pastor.  If this narration were in Kiswahili, my next sentence would be ‘wahenga hawakukosea waliposema hakuna siri ya watu wawili…..’ These secret plans are thwarted when sly’s coinciding plan loophole leads to an expose of Kanyi’s arrangement in a comical delivery that leaves the audience in stitches.

Two hours later as we exit the hall, my friend is raving on and on, about what a great play that was while intimating on the lessons we ought to have learnt from the said production. Which got me thinking, it’s been a while since I watched a play and thought; ‘that was a great lesson.’  My reaction is always ‘that was hilarious, or that was not funny at all’.

Here is to taking friends to the theatre who derive reflection from the acts on stage.



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