Nanzikambe Arts has embarked on The President’s Prerogative barely a month after unleashing an adaptation of Professor Jack Mapanje’s detention memoir And Crocodiles are Hungry at Night which advises Malawians to guard democracy at all cost.
According to Nanzikambe executive director Chris Nditani, the new play will premiere at the end of the month at their theatre performance space in Naperi, Blantyre.
“The President’s Prerogative will be launched at Nanzikambe Space base on March 30 and we will take the play to Mchinji the following afternoon,” said Nditani in an interview on Wednesday.
He said the show in the Central Region border district will mark the commencement of a 10-day tour of nine districts, including Mulanje, Nkhata Bay, Zomba and Chiradzulu.
And hungry crocodiles
The same day, the theatrical chameleons will show And Crocodiles are Hungry at Night at Madsoc Theatre in Lilongwe. Nditani explained that this is the last performance in Malawi before the play adapted by UK-based Kate Stafford appears before Mapanje and global human rights defenders at the World Amnesty commemorations in London in July.
“The show on March 31 comes in response to public demand and because we believe the story of Mapanje’s detention without trial during the one-party era has vital lessons to present Malawi,” he said about the play which received rave reviews after its unveiling on Martyrsâ€™ Day this month.
Seasoned politician Brown Mpinganjira, who shared a condemned cell with Mapanje, author of Of Chameleon and Gods’ poetry collection, shed tearsâ€”imploring Malawians never to allow the tyrannical tendencies to resurface in the country which adopted multiparty in 1993.
Strung with hope and despair, the play detests the jailing of people with dissenting views because it stifles different points of view.
Written and directed by Smith Likongwe, a renowned playwright and drama lecturer at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, The President’s Prerogative is devised under the Consolidated Arts Programme (CAP) been ongoing since 2009.
The cast comprises seasoned and up-and-coming performers, including National Theatre Association of Malawi (Ntam) president Ian Chisekula and Nanzikambe’s Henry Mtalika.
Among other things, it boldly bewails the abuse of power associated with political leadership.
Traditional leaders have the trust of the people as custodians of our cultural heritage and traditional practices and these (cultural heritage and traditional practices) are what bind societies together.
Political leaders often use custodians of culture to their own advantage. This, unfortunately, leads to a situation where such traditional leaders end up behaving like politicians, abrogating their traditional responsibilities for monetary inducements.
â€œWhen the whole leadership gets drunk on power and forsakes what their subjects really need, the essence of trust is eroded and what ultimately ensues is chaos,â€ says Nditani.
The play will 10 other 10 districts in May.
It will also share the stage with renowned theatre outfits from South Africa (Fresco Theatre), Germany (Junges Theatre and Theatre Konstanz), Fibin TEO from Ireland and a two hander from Togo at the forthcoming Mwezi Wawala International Arts and Theatre Festival in August.