With friends like his, Richard Ambogo didn’t need enemies.
That could well be one of the first meaningful messages one came away with after watching Heartstrings’ comedy 'Who is your mother?'.
One might have learned from the show that never take a Heartstrings’ title as having any relevance to the show itself.
If anything, a mother was the last thing Richard wanted to see in his own experience. The only mother we ever see in the play is his first wife, Vanessa (Andale Machrine), from whom he ran away once the going got rough.
And one of the reasons he and his one-time fiancée (Adeyline Wairimu) had a falling out three years back was because he didn’t want to make her a mother, didn’t want to make babies at the time.
But now, things have changed for Richard (Paul Ogola). Now he is up for a major promotion and one of the deciding points is seeing that the winning candidate has a happy family life. Yet that is exactly what Richard doesn’t have.
Initially, he had two weeks to figure that one out; but the boss had come to town and told Richard’s workmates that he had pushed the process up to the following Monday.
That threw everyone close to Richard into a panic mode, especially Tim Drissi and Fischer Maina who expected to get preferential treatment once Richard took over the reins of power.
They planned to start up several lucrative (and shady) business deals on the side that they trusted Richard would turn a blind eye to.
But once they started interfering in Richard’s affairs, things got uncomfortable and even ugly.
Tim had called the first wife, Vanessa (Machrine) and told her she needed to come quick since Richard’s was a case of life or death.
Richard, who also really wanted that promotion, got roped into Tim’s treachery. When Vanessa shows up at his house, he implores her to come back home. ‘No way’, is her clear-cut message to him.
This man had walked on her and their two kids eleven years back, and he’d never before tried to make amends.
So, there was no way she was going to forget the struggles she as a now single mother had gone through following his precipitous flight.
Then there was Fischer who calls the almost-second-wife, Jacinta (Adeyline Nimo) who he had left some three years back after refusing her plea to help her make a baby.
For him, another child was not economically feasible, but Jacinta had taken his rejection personally.
What made it worse was that he'd completed part of the traditional wedding ceremony before he had split, thus making it impossible for her to get involved with another man until Richard returned to reverse his vow to wed her traditionally.
Meanwhile, the one woman who had been in Richard’s life through the thick and thin of his affairs was Siketa (Bernice N), his house help.
She had been good friends with both women when they had been in Richard’s life.
Playing the part of a sort of ditsy cleaning lady, Siketa looks like she could be a de facto ‘wife’ for a day, but Richard doesn’t let on until she arrives in the last scene.
Unbeknownst to Richard, both buddies have brought Richard’s ex’s to stand with him when and if he gets called the winner during the announcement ceremony.
One can foresee a calamity in the making, but it’s not the one that ensues right before this comedy-drama ends.
One assumes that unless Tim and Fischer make peace before the promotion is announced, there will be a catastrophe as both ex-wives speak up on Richard’s behalf.
Thereafter, he would be known as a philanderer or a polygamist or both. Certainly, the company could change its mind and give the job to the other guy, Josephat, who honestly has a happy family (as we are led to believe).
But Richard is slick enough to foresee the problem before it takes place. He is able to defuse it before either ‘ex’ has a chance to speak up.
He accepts the winning promotion and then calls upon his ‘wife’, aka his house help, Seketa, who is eloquent in response to the company search for a man of integrity.
The only problem is, she states emphatically that ‘Such a man is not Richard Ombogo!’
Seketa, in her seeming simplicity, is a truth-teller and more of a feminist than a loyal employee. She has the last word when she makes a moral claim that stuns everyone; but hers is a grand slam that wins the day!