A couple years ago, I was fortunate enough to attend what I consider one of the greatest Kenyan theatre plays of all time. It blew my mind to possibilities and intricacies in my culture and more specifically Sheng. And in some regard, it paved the way for some of the work I went on to do including working with Warner Bros.
The play was Lwanda: A Ghetto Story. [A review on Mwafrika.Com]
With Eric Wainaina, Dan “Chizi” Aceda, Helen Mtawali, Kiki Mutungi, Jacquie Nyaminde – Wilbroda on Papa Shirandula and two of my favourite characters in the play Karis and Oti played by Sam Kihiu and Joshua Mwai. Mumbi Kaigwa gave a splendid performance as the greedy seductress Anna Mali.
I laughed so hard, so heartily and enjoyed a hot, spicy plate of Kenyan culture, seasoned with song, dance and infectious rhythms. I would call it one of the most remarkable stage performances I’ve ever experienced.
That play is now known as Mo Faya The Musical. In a couple days, and is set to tour Broadway at the New York Musical Theatre Festival with 6 shows lined up for them.
The Cast and Crew this time around, include Tim Rimbui (Sound Design), John Sibi Okumu (Director), Mike Inwood (Lighting Designer), Bernita Robinson (Stage Manager), Michael Joseph Ormond (Production Stage Manager) Ken Larson (Set Designer), Daniel Kiwasi (Choreographer), Carol Atemi, Valerie Kimani and Mumbi Kaigwa. Not forgetting Eric Wainaina of course.
I can’t wait to see and hear what comes out of it. See below for the synopsis of Mo Faya. I’m sure it will be just as exhilarating and hilarous as it first was.
DJ Lwanda’s voice rings out daily on local radio, leading and inspiring the Nairobi community of Kwa Maji. But Anna Mali, an avaricious real estate diva, craves the land beneath their slum. She seduces the fiery young DJ away with a job at a top nationwide station, and organizes a violent campaign to terrorize the people of Kwa Maji. When the government and media turn a blind eye to the decapitated bodies in the streets, DJ Lwanda must return home to expose the truth. But at what cost?
You can follow Mo Faya The Musical (Attend it via Facebook, Follow them on Twitter or keep up with them via their blog.
Any experiences in theatre you would care to share? Any must-see plays you know of? Theatre not really your thing?