Celebrating East African Writing!
Three shows in Bangalore, another two in Hyderabad and at the United World College in Pune, ecstatic audiences, and all in a language that hardly anybody understands! How does it work? Well, we must credit the timeless brilliance of Shakespeare’s comic observations of the frailty of human behaviour (is there a more loveable and yet more despicable character than Sir John Falstaff?) Add to the mix the quick fire wit of our relentless director Daniel Goldman, and the committed and energetic cast of Mrisho Mpoto, Mourad Sadat, Joshua Ogutu, Neville Misati, Veronica Waceke, Sylvia Namusassi, Kitt Nyang’aya and Eric Wanyama and it is not surprising that audiences have given this production a standing ovation wherever it shows.
As Margaretta wa Gacheru said in the Daily Nation, it is a “a seamless performance providing hilarity non-stop.”
In Hyderabad, TTC brought Wanawake wa Heri wa Winsa to the stage along with a dozen other performance projects from top Indian companies, as part of a festival which celebrates the life of the city’s most prominent cultural figure, Qadir Ali Baig. Taking place in and around the Ravindra Bharathi Theatre in the heart of one of Asias’s busiest, and noisiest cities, this was a chanc for Hyederabad theatre goers to meet their first Kenyan performers, and what a rich interchange it proved to be! We were equally excited by each other, and many rich connections were made, which we hope will lead to high quality, coolaborative projects in the future. TTC were delighted to watch the magnetic Lillette Dubey (a member of one of the most influential Indian theatre dynasties) in Mahesh Dattani’s Where did I leave my veil? and Padma Damodaran and Smita Bharti in Hungry Heart’s production of 45′ 35′ 55’.
On to Bangalore, where we were part of an eight production festival celebrating the diverse appeal of Shakespeare’s work, with productions such as Dhaka Theatre’s ‘The Tempest’ and Marjanishvili’s ‘As You Like It’ from Georgia. Bangalore turned out to be a rich experience for us (and not just from the food!) Audiences and performers mixed with ease and we met such important collaborators as the patron Arundhati Nag, the writer Girish Karnad, director and educationalist Anmul Vellani and Surendra Nath, the Artistic Director of Ranga Shankara.
A gruelling but exciting 24 hour train ride took us to the very different, calm, rural context of the Mahindra United World College of India in Pune. Here we performed for an international audience in the intimate context of a studio theatre, at the invitation of our old friend, theatre practitioner and teacher Nandita Dinesh.
We had intended to run some workshops in Mumbai before leaving, but the situation was unstable for a few days so we will have to look forward to that adventure on our next tour!
It has long been the plan of TTC to encourage stronger links with the sub-continent and we are sure that the friends we have made and the conversations we have begun will lead to a flowering of cooperation between the two areas.
Our profound thanks to our sponsors, donors and all the people who have made this an unforgettable experience.
If you would like to know more about our work, please contact us at www.theatrecompany.net