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Category Archives: Stage reviews

THE ART OF LIVE STORY TELLING

THE ART OF LIVE STORY TELLING

THE SIDE CHICK WIFE IS A REFLECTION OF REAL LIFE

The audience thoroughly loved her humor and the flawless delivery of her two part narration…

Most of our lives are spent in front of a screen and we can’t help but applaud the technology and the connectivity through our devices. Chances are, a lot of people get tired and a good icebreaker is getting out there and interacting with a live audience at a live show and I believe we like to hear real life experiences from Key players in the industry.

THE SIDE CHICK WIFE was a live storytelling show, performed by Dr. Zippy Okoth (PhD), a performing artist, producer, director, actor and a lecturer of theatre and arts. She is currently a senior lecturer at KCA University.

Put together by FILM LAB and performed at the KENYA NATIONAL THEATRE auditorium, the show was a two part performance that gave us two perspectives of her life. One side told us how she navigated her relationships from her young days as a campus student in MASENO UNIVERSITY to how she got married and divorced to moving into a marriage like situation ship ‘come we stay’ that ensured her character was well developed for dealing with relationships from then on. On the second part we see Zippy evolve into a more self-aware mature woman who knows what’s best for her.

Live stories often reveal the truths of who we really are. They make the storyteller vulnerable by airing out the unspoken and making fun of otherwise cringe moments. Audiences crave authenticity and that is what they compensate for. THE SIDE CHICK WIFE was one that many could relate to in so many levels. Alert listeners noticed that it touched on so many sensitive topics; marriage traditions and expectations, friendship, cheating, death, loss, grief, therapy, childbearing, parenting and so much more. The one thing that Zippy was able to do was to share with the audience from her real life experiences and how she dealt with every situation that came her way.

A question that a lot of people were asking was that, ‘is the story factual or is it tweaked to keep the audience glued?’ but does it really matter if the story was factual or what one really takes away at the end of the whole experience because Zippy was absolutely incredible, the audience thoroughly loved her humor and the flawless delivery of her two part narration. She is a true story teller that accommodates different styles to her performance and the fact that it was mostly comical, the emotional dive is what makes THE SIDE CHICK WIFE a reflection of real life.

It was a one woman show that was engaging, decorated with very subtle lighting and minimal stage design that absolutely worked for the style of performance.

IRREGARDLESS IS A THEATRICAL MASTERPEICE

IRREGARDLESS IS A THEATRICAL MASTERPEICE

LIFE GOES ON IRREGARDLESS

the mockery that is in the political scenes of our daily lives…

This article aims to discuss John ‘J J’ Jumbi’s style of political satire as an alternative to political discussion. He packages political messages in a comic and contemporary way but still evokes political awareness. In this dramaturgy, IRREGARDLESS vol. 2 employs, sub-plots, different settings, irony, movement, spectacle and many other elements to provoke political conversations.

Irregardless vol. 2 was staged for the very last time on Sunday, 25th September, 2022 at The Braeburn Theatre, Gitanga road. After the success of IRREGARDLESS 1, it was inevitable to bring back volume 2 with the same team.

Produced by Hawi Oguna, he says that after such a long time away, Irregardless brings back something that they as Chatterbox production, hold very dear and that is their audience. Hawi has had an incredible team work behind him comprising of; Mercy Wangui (stage manager), Tugi Waiyaki (Production manager), Seth Guya (choreographer) and many more who came in as partners.

The show has featured veteran actors as well as young and upcoming vibrant actors. Amina Hussein, click- click bang, Ashley Wahu, Just One Bite, Daisy Temba, Esther Kazungu, Papa Shirandula, Faiz Francis Ouma, Sincerely Daisy, Ivy Wangui Muiruiri, Sungura, Ibrahim Muchemi, Godfrey Hinga, Kelvin Kasyoki, Lorna Lemi, Kibue Wambui, Mary Mutheu, Martin Kigondu and Ywaya Xavier, 40 Sticks.

Music is another important aspect that carries the show to the end as it is used as a transitional element from scene to scene and mood changes. Paul Mbithi, the music director has worked with other performers to create powerful and comical renditions of commonly known tunes. The music has also been used as a time buy out and we all know that time management is an essential part of staging plays. Mbithi has worked in collaboration with, Steve Homes, Wanjira Mathai, Destiney Njeri, Dianarose Nyawira, Michelle Wanjiku, Jodi Jubi and Joy Ocholla.

JJ has used settings in our social spaces where politics is meant to find you without you having to look for it; The Church, our schools and even social media trends.

I happened to walk in on a class scene where the cast were using placards to emphasize on how a politician works in order to ensure that the citizens are on their side. There is a lot of use of symbolism on the empty promises that are now very obvious.  The actors use their voices well to mock well known leaders but also in a clever fashion to package a message of what not to do in the next regime.

The spectacle also goes a long way in ensuring that the message in IRREGARDLESS is home. We see it in the mood changes created by the lighting of the different scenes which very creatively and seamlessly change.

Jumbi also uses Juxtaposition to emphasize on the mockery that is in the political scenes of our daily lives. The rising action is, a foot soldier is murdered and during the burial, there is a leader being inaugurated into power. What better way to remind you that LIFE GOES ON IRREGARDLESS. A satirical masterpiece.

CHEMI CHEMI PLAYERS gives a heartwarming comeback

CHEMI CHEMI PLAYERS gives a heartwarming comeback

From Director and producer Julisa Rowe and a cast consisting of ; Nyokabi Macharia,Wambui Kyama, Sakina Mirichii, Joyce Musoke,Lucy Wache and Julisa Rowe the play SPREAD YOUR GARMENT OVER ME was an eyeopener showcasing the tales that are often not told about various women in the bible.

Staged at the Mamlaka Hill Chapel Ruaka on Sunday 25th of September, the piece uncovered stories from characters who haven’t been payed much attention to, from Deborah keeping up with Israel as the first female judge to Claudia, Pontius Pilate’s wife having a revelation about Christ’s crucifixion.

Let me ask,in the story of Saul, the first king of Israel, did you know that the Medium who Saul went to consult so as to bring up Samuel’s spirit was willing to help him even though mediums and witches were persecuted and killed in the most brutal ways imaginable, now I’m not trying to justify witchcraft but the point is, the piece gave a deeper perspective about these women other than what I’ve been taught throughout my christian life.

Julisa Rowe,Lucy Wache and Nyokabi Macharia
Julisa Rowe,Lucy Wache and Nyokabi Macharia

The actors gave a wonderful performance and I for one was impressed in how they shift characters with an actor playing at most three characters.

The writing saw to it that the story portrayed aspects of Joy, despair, grief,war and hope in the lives of the characters. I personally was touched by the narrative of the Samaritan woman’s experience with Christ which was performed in song form and also felt an emotional connection with the characters and the stories.

The set design, costumes, lighting and props really set the tone for the story

Chemi Chemi players for sure did put up a good show and I for one anticipate for their next production.

Follow them on their social media @chemichemiplayers on all platforms to know what they have in store.

A play on the LIFE IN THE BIBLE THROUGH WOMEN’S EYES

A play on the LIFE IN THE BIBLE THROUGH WOMEN’S EYES

In a mission to Transform lives for Christ one play at a time,CHEMI CHEMI PLAYERS made it their sole purpose to produce stage plays which shed light on the different perspectives of both men and women in the Bible.

This year, CHEMI CHEMI PLAYERS graced us with two outstanding productions; SPREAD YOUR GARMENT OVER ME and VOICES IN THE BIBLE: KINGS AND LEADERS EDITION which were highly appreciated but that is not all, since SPREAD YOUR GARMENT OVER ME is ready to make a comeback on the 25th of September at the Mamlaka Hill Chapel Ruaka.

With a renowned cast of actresses consisting of; Wambui Kyama (Kina), Nyokabi Macharia (County 49),Sakina Mirichii (Runaway Grandmother), Joyce Musoke (Better Days), Lucy Wache (Real househelps of Kawangware) and Julisa Rowe (Night, Mother), the piece brings forth stories of joy, despair, grief, war and hope in the lives of women in the Bible.

No longer silent and unnamed, the piece brings fully realized human beings onto the stage as they navigate heartbreak, bareness, abuse,war and longing for change.” Chemi Chemi.

Directed by Julisa Rowe, the first show held at the Kenya National Theatre on February this year was seen with positive remarks from audiences, with one sighting that, “ To watch individual acting powerhouses gel so effortlessly on stage is a treat you cannot miss. The cast masterfully took us through the inner workings of the minds of key female Bible figures in an unforgettable fashion. Strong recommendation.”

That said, I think you are convinced enough to go watch this highly anticipated come back of SPREAD YOUR GARMENT OVER ME this weekend on the 25th at the Mamlaka Hill Chapel.

Tickets are on sale via Mpesa paybill 700 238 ACC : PLAY

See you there.

‘IRREGARDLESS’ IS BACK BIGGER AND BETTER

‘IRREGARDLESS’ IS BACK BIGGER AND BETTER

IRREGARDLESS VOL 2 ‘Open letter to the new president.’

During the pre-election period, CHATTERBOX KENYA, the production team behind; Bei ya jioni (play), 318(Short film) and Lwanda Rock man (play) , brought forth the highly appreciated play IRREGARDLESS at the Braeburn Theatre on July this year.

The political satire was written by John JJ Jumbi focusing on the nature of both the leaders and the citizens during election time and now that the elections are over, the team is back with the second edition of Irregardless, IRREGARDLESS VOL 2.

Also written by John JJ Jumbi, this edition too is a political satire “giving some ‘advice’ to the new chief-in-command of the most pressing issues he needs to adress in a non-opaque manner as he takes up his new office.” Chatterbox.

With the massive appreciation of the first edition, you are promised a much better and fun show with IRREGARDLESS VOL 2 which will be staged at the Braeburn Theatre Gitanga rd from the 23rd to 25th of September.

Tickets are available now on www.chatterbox.ke

THE MANIC MONOLOGUES AFRICAN DEBUT

THE MANIC MONOLOGUES AFRICAN DEBUT

Founded in 2019 by Zach Burton and Elise Hofmeister, The Manic Monologues is a movement shedding light on Mental Health Stigma through Art.

As the name suggests, The Manic Monologues craft performances from real life stories which dig deep on the true nature of Mental Health Stigma around the world making it’s African debut right here in Nairobi, Kenya

Instagram @justjhoom

“The manic monologues brings to life incredible stories that will challenge and inform your ideas about what it means to be touched by a mental health condition. These true lived experiences come from diverse and resilient people living across the world. These brave individuals have things to say about struggle and pain, but also triumph and joy. They are moving. They are human. They are not ashamed.” Zach Burton

Instagram @justjhoom

From the executive producers Shalini Bhalia-Lucas and Amar Vidyarthi, the event is to be held at the Signature Auditorium in Westlands, Nairobi from the 5th to the 8th of October.

Directed by Mugambi Nthiga (Nairobi half life), the monologues will be performed by acclaimed Kenyan artists consisting of; Nyokabi Macharia (County 49), Charles Ouda (Mali), Wakio Mzenge (County 49), Nick Ndenda (18 hours), Elsaphan Njora (Kati Kati), Vikash Pattni (Crime and Justice), Auudi Rowa (This is Life) and Julisa Rowe (Voices of the Bible).

Instagram @justjhoom

Tickets to the event are now available to purchase at http://www.kenyabuzz.com

THE MANIC MONOLOGUES AFRICAN DEBUT
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