Athol Fugards’s play Sizwe Bansi is Dead, as performed by Nanzikambe Arts in collaboration with Lions Theatre, has rocked the theatre fraternity nationwide.
Now, fans have to expect another Fugard’s two-man act play titled The Island to be staged by end of July.
It is not by design that the groups are working on another two-man act involving Misheck Mzumara and Thlupego Chisiza.
The fact is that Nanzikambe Arts is struggling financially to produce plays with a full cast.
“Most of the organisations that were supporting us no longer do. And this has affected us,” said Nanzikambe’s Mzumara over the weekend after touring the Northern Region with Sizwe Bansi is Dead.
“To produce a play with a big cast and conduct a tour, we spend K2 million. But for a play with a small cast we only need K200 000,” he added.
Nanzikambe Arts used to receive funding from the Royal Norwegian Embassy. But, according to Mzumara, the embassy stopped funding them.
He said another German organisation, Goethe Institute, stopped financing them as well.
“We now depend on funding from a Cultural Support Scheme which is managed by Cosoma [the Copyright Society of Malawi]. But this is not enough.
“Due to lack of funding, we are now turning to plays which do not need more people. With such plays, we depend on door collections to support our tours. This would not be possible with big cast plays,” he said.
The Island—based on South Africa’s notorious Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was held for 27 years—centres on two cellmates who have to grapple with a harsh environment, unexpected hope, overwhelming hope, and the strength of their friendship.
“As of now we are studying the script to see which areas to extract. We will have a final script by end of this week.
“People should be on the lookout because this is a rich play. It is captivating with a very powerful storyline,” said Mzumara.