Celebrating East African Writing!
“Starting 23rd March, it will surely come as a surprise to all that we drink, eat, belch, vomit, and breathe the Media!”From News Made in Kenya
The first thing a die-hard Heartstrings fan will notice when the first scene opens is that the narrator is not Larry Asego ( Also Kiss 100 radio station radio presenter) a fact that the new narrator chooses to drum home. Needless to say that the absence of the two is felt as they he, as it should be, a masters of his game.
The second thing a diehard fan would notice is the complete cast overhaul-and the blessings that they bring with them like fresh creativity, originality, pure talent and the essential Heartstrings ingredient: laughter.
The play makes a satirical statement about the media in Kenya. It is told interestingly and creatively from a media consumption point of view rather than news production as the title would suggest.
The set is appropriately painted in all manner of Kenyan media (T.V,Radio,Newspapers)leaving the audience with no doubt about the central theme of the play.( this is an improvement from previous plays where the audience is usually left guessing about what the play is about.)
The characters’ mastery of their roles even with the constant change of characters as newsmen, ordinary mwananchi, members of parliament is testament not just to their natural talent but also to the brilliance of the directors of the play: Sammy Mwangi and Victor Ber.
The “madness” of News Made in Kenya lies in the use of local languages like Gusii, Luhya , Luo at intervals during the play without losing the audience completely( judging by the laughter from the audience).
The play loses out on the sometimes lengthy scenes which one could easily note that the point had already been made. The characters were not as articulate in the English language as they were in their mother –tongue and Kiswahili. Their struggle with the queen’s language was evident in the quick way they corrected themselves sometimes losing the punch lines in the process.
The costumes, while highly improved from previous plays, were sometimes exaggerated for no apparent reason and in some cases, very inappropriate ( e.g during parliamentary proceedings)
The play had two narrators this time (male and female) who failed miserably as they made several attempts at making witty remarks. Perhaps it is time that the theatre company considered scrapping the narrator’s role altogether.
Lovers of theatre should look forward to this Post-Easter hilarious treat.
© Faith Oneya 2010
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