SPORTLIGHT PERFORMING ARTS with JOHN KAPESA
MUFULIRA Arts Council (MAC) returned to the stage last Saturday at the Little Theatre in Mufulira with a youthful in the Jonathan Simpemba-written play Jezebel’s Daughters, an entrancing and hypnotizing drama that highlighted decayed morals.
In the play, Khetiwe (Memory Kasweshi) is the city mayor who is waywardly flirting with her husband’s brother Jethro (Isaac Simpemba) while he [the husband] is away. She noticeably reveals hidden skeletons in the closet and the subsequent misperception in the family.
This information is tightly held as top secret, but the emerging of another pregnancy in the house breaks the mayor’s back; and so everybody feels uneasy, and therefore the truth must just be told. And so it is.
The dramatic reality is; Colonel Solomon Bantu (played by Alifa Chilufya), a high-ranking army officer is away on a peace-keeping mission in some abstract African country. Before he left, the family of his two daughters Tendai (Chileshe Jere) and Zindaba (Jesinta Chanda) were presumed well-bred and so were the colonel’s mother (Cecilia Musonda) and Khetiwe’s father (Isaac Simpemba) who lived with them.
Further, it is on the sidelines of the street were other interesting scenario are revealed. Jahman (Marlon Mangala), plys his trade on the street and that is where Tendai frequents and in the process gets pregnant. Then, there is also a pastor, (Styles Mulenga) somewhere.
All the jigsaw pieces neatly come into place and to the attention of Solomon when he returns from his mission. Dumbfounded, this breaks his back.
The two old parents were eyeing each other; the two daughters flirt and were in the family way while his brother and his wife were running an affair.
Directed by Godfrey Chitambala, the acting by the cast was well co-ordinated, emotively befitting with the author Jonathan Simpemba stealing the limelight with his engrossed posterity, rage and emotional attention.
Memory Kasweshi was another adorable character on the stage; her performance was humbly exciting and moving. Alifa Chilufya and Marlon Mangala were two others I watched with keen interest, their roles were supplemented with good discipline on stage.
Though the play was devoid of perfection, I think Godfrey Chitambala tried to put in every worth of good effort; the stage set and high design marks go to the backstage crew.
Perhaps, what was most disappointing and unacceptable about the performance of Jezebel’s Daughters was part of the disruptive and disorderly audience with spectators who calculatingly ran comments on the play; this disturbance was uncalled for as it often riles actors on stage and serious members of the audience.
In future, MAC, if it has to maintain a good name it all along has had, must show such individuals the exit. Elsewhere in theatre houses, even cameramen and those taking pictures with their phones are not allowed except with strict permission.
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