Saturday, April 20, 2013

‘Shackles of Doom’ takes centre stage on Sunday

Butere Girls High School students Samirah Bahati, Sharon Ouko and Army Ruth during a rehearsal of the play ''Shackles of Doom'' in Mombasa on Saturday. The play will be performed on Sunday at the Aga Khan High School. Photo/ANTHONY NJAGI

Butere Girls High School students Samirah Bahati, Sharon Ouko and Army Ruth during a rehearsal of the play ''Shackles of Doom'' in Mombasa on Saturday. The play will be performed on Sunday at the Aga Khan High School. Photo/ANTHONY NJAGI  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By ANTHONY NJAGI anjagi@ke.nationmedia.com

The controversial play Shackles of Doom by Butere Girls High School will finally be performed on Sunday at the Kenya National Schools and Colleges Drama Festival in Mombasa.

Today’s presentation at the Aga Khan High School follows a High Court ruling that lifted a ban that had earlier been slapped on the controversial play by officials from the Ministry of Education.

The festival’s national chairman, Chokera Kahura, and executive secretary, Sirengo Khaemba, told the Sunday Nation on Sunday that they have complied with the court’s ruling and lined up the play for competition.

The play is produced by Dora Okaalo and directed by Nicholas Lusuli and Marvin Oman. The plot revolves around the greed for oil wealth and how one community gets into a binding deal with the inhabitants of an oil-rich land, but affairs of the heart and blackmail trigger a conflict between the two communities.

The play has attracted a lot of attention in Mombasa’s theatre circles and Mr Chokera said they have made the necessary transport arrangements to ensure the girls get to the festival in time to perform.

Adjudicators and regional festival organisers had earlier disqualified the play “for failure to promote the theme of national healing and reconciliation”, saying it appeared to do the opposite.

The play was judged to be tribal after drama officials found the contents of the drama offensive because of the play’s use of Kikuyu names to represent its exploitative characters.

Fear for young minds

“If this is moderated and tackled with modesty and civility, then we would not fear for the young minds that are at their formative stage,” said the adjudicators in their report.

The play was also criticised because it was scripted by playwright-politician Cleophas Malala. Critics said students should write their own plays and not hire outsiders to do it for them.

Other schools expected to perform during the Sunday family show include Waa Girls’ High School who will stage Abu-Dhambi, Chebisaas High’s French play Le crie d’un enfant, Riara Springs’ Delta of Turmoil, Njumbi High School’s oral narrative Oyies Bachelor, Erusui Girls with Sweet Poison, Bishop Gatimu Girls’ Hunt for Anaconda, NoonKopir Girls’ oral narrative The Pimple and Chavakali Boys with the dance Shimuli.

Laiser Hill Academy will stage A Funeral in Heaven while Mary Hill Girls will stage a dance’, Mueni Witu. Participants and theatre lovers will also watch Khamisi High’s choral verse Ving’ongo and St Mary’s Yala’s Howls of Jackals.

Mr Sirengo said that the theme of this year’s festival is to promote a sense of nationalism and patriotism; appreciate, develop, preserve and promote the country’s positive diverse cultures, and give learners an opportunity to develop positive  values and attitudes.

On Sunday, Alliance Girls’ High School staged Do unto Me which uses a play within a play technique to help depict the disharmony that arises when communities fight over resources.

At Mbaraki Primary, nursery schools will stage their pieces this morning.

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