Housing project among dominant themes at drama festivals

Halima Ibrahim acting as 'Tanisha Majani' from Kuno Primary School, Garissa County, shed tears during a play titled 'The Wish' at the Kenya National Drama and Film festivals. [Muriithi Mugo, Standard]

The controversial affordable housing by the Kenya Kwanza administration found its tentacles on stage at the Kenya National Drama and Film Festival with calls for a humane implementation of the project.

Choral verse Nguzo wa Uchumi (Economics Fundamentals), rendered by Kitale National Polytechnic, depicts a government not sensitive and devoid of empathy for its citizenry as it embarks on forceful evictions.

Written by Isaac Anyolo, the verse castigates authorities for rendering people houseless in the guise of creating affordable habitats. The paradox is the crux of this production and seeks to have a gradual and consultative approach that takes into cognizance both environmental impact as well as human crisis caused by such decisions.

Engineer John Akola, Bill Water and Priscilla Mweru have teamed up to bring to fore the elephant in the room, questioning the tax meant to support the project.

Kabarak University received a standing ovation when they presented their play ‘A Cry For Freedom’ depicting a continent under the yolk of neo-economic colonisation by the West. Veteran playwright Silas Temba has offered a mirror for the audience in this play that draws both sorrow and happiness.

Eldoret National Polytechnic brought the roof down with their cultural creative dance Ovushi displayed in beautiful Luhya movements with rich Isikuti idiom.

“Ovushi” is a Luhya name that means “Honey”. Metaphorically the writer uses bees and how they struggle to make honey to show how humans destroy Mother Nature. The bees build their hive and struggle to make honey but human beings pick honey unprofessionally hence breaking the hive.

The bees get annoyed, recollect and rebuild their hive and vow to protect it but undeterred human beings return to not only harvest the honey but the hive as well, and this time the sting from the bees is so severe, that humans become blind.

In this melodically rich dance led by soloists Jesse Chalwa, Stanley Lumbasi and Patrick Simiyu, the humans walk into every hospital seeking medication for the blindness caused by bees but in vain.

The only medication is an antidote from the honey and they have to replant the flowers, trees and rebuild bee hives which they burned down. Bees come back, honey is created but this time the honey is harvested professionally without destroying the hive and plants thus creating a good ecosystem.

Sironga Girls identified the benefits that come with the government’s Talanta Hela initiative, depicted in a modern dance The Baton. Directed by Victor Onana and Robert Onyancha, the verse had functional costumes bringing the track events at national athletics meets to life.

Kenya Institute of Mass Communication presented a play entitled “Drama at the festival”. The play features Bilha Wangui Muthui, a girl who started as an actress from Lions Primary, Laiser hill Academy then KIMTC, emerging as top actress.


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