NKOLE NKOLE, Lusaka
NAPSA Theatre Club returned to the stage of the Lusaka Playhouse last Friday and Saturday with the Cheela Chilala-written and Samuel Kasankha-directed play “The Chosen One” which was performed before an average but attentive crowd on the first night.Set in the nation of Bantala, the play revolves around a greedy king called Zondazonke who has an insatiable appetite for power and tries to stop a forthcoming ceremony being planned in the kingdom to honour the dead king, Somazala, considered the lion of the Bantala Kingdom.
But King Zondazonke regards himself as the father of the nation and is afraid that the ceremony will overshadow his leadership.
One of his main challengers is his sister Uwemi, who warns that if he continues on his destructive path, he will be ruined.
She tells him the truth when it needs to be told and reminds him that he was made king to serve the people and not his selfish interests.
She also warns him that the ceremony to honour the dead King Somazala will go ahead whether he likes it or not.
Another key character is the respected elder Motomoto, who has lately differed with King Zondazonke.
Motomoto explains to King Zondazonke that as part of the ceremony, the bones of the dead King Somazala must be exhumed from the royal tomb before the appearance of the new moon.
He also informs him that only the chief priest Chilyamutima has the authority to conduct the rituals before and during the ceremony.
In learning this, King Zondazonke is offended that he has no serious role to play in the ceremony.
He insists that the word of the king is supreme yet they have allowed Chilyamutima who is just a chief priest to become more powerful than the king.
Meanwhile, King Zondazonke also tries to woo Motomoto to his side but he sticks to his convictions and insists that it is tradition for the Council of Elders to work together for the good of the kingdom.
Motomoto says he does not serve for his own gratification but for the kingdom even though King Zondazonke offers him more land and herds of animals befitting a chief elder.
Acting as the king’s echo and most loyal follower, is the wily elder, Maliankumba, who also tries to convince Motomoto to accept the king’s offer.
Maliankumbu agrees with every word and decision made by King Zondazonke and daily feeds his already bloated ego.
King Zondazonke persists in his mission to block the ceremony to honour the dead king Somazala insisting he (Zondazonke) is the custodian of the land of Bantala and its wealth and can do with it as he pleases.
He believes he has sacrificed a lot for the Bantala kingdom and will not allow his authority to be undermined.
However in his mission to stop the ceremony from happening, he must first overcome the unwavering resistance of those who wish to stay true to the traditions of the Bantala kingdom and uphold the wishes of its people.
Leading this resistance are characters such as Motomoto and the king’s courageous sister, Uwemi, who some in the kingdom suggest must be installed as king.
Kasankha admitted later that the performance did not entirely go according to plan, particularly on Friday.
“As the director, this was arguably the most difficult play I’ve had to direct. The location from start to finish was in one place, namely the throne Room (palace) while in virtually everyone of the 11 scenes, almost the same people were featured,” he said.
“Additionally, there were quite a handful of repetitious thoughts being uttered by the King, Zundazonke, and his right hand man, Malyankhumba.”
NKOLE NKOLE, Lusaka