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Art

Jokes, politics that killed humour in ‘Tit for Tat’

Tit for Tat
In ‘Tit for Tat’, Paul and Mackrine fight over everything, even carpeting. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU 

Heartstrings Entertainment’s Tit for Tat play was a comedy exploring a marriage that was falling apart and its effect on the couple’s child Christine Mwadulo (Jerita Mwake).

Humour has never been Heartstrings’ weak point and this production was just further proof that you can trust them to bring life to a Saturday date night or a lazy Sunday afternoon. It is amazing at how the team can make a story out of anything, including something as ordinary as a Parents’ Day meeting, for instance.

I thought the first scene which set up the parents’ marriage as troubled went on for a little too long. On the flip side, their relationship was probably an allegory to the relationship between the government and the opposition leaders.

Perhaps, the lengthiness and the exaggerated viciousness was meant to mirror the fatiguing nature of political squabbles in the country.

I also cringed at some of the jokes. For instance, Mwadulo’s (Paul Ogola) reference to the fact that he had paid dowry, lamenting that he had given up goats in exchange for another goat, was unnecessary, partly because of how much it was repeated.

One of my favourite things about Heartstrings plays is the actors’ prowess.

The ease with which they all take on different roles during each production is testament to both their abilities and their hard work.

However, I worry about the fact that the Heartstrings team is notorious for casting Faith Kabathi in scenes with sexual undertones.

Even though I was glad that this time she had a professional role as a teacher, it was marred by the fact that it still deteriorated to her being the subject of sexual jokes.

I think it is lazy humour and a waste of her remarkable acting that any time she comes onto the stage, Heartstrings fans can accurately predict that she will be the subject of jokes with sexual innuendo.

This time it was not just the male characters’ gaze on her, but also their insistence that she was mostly concerned with metaphorical extracurricular activities and was the class teacher of 8D.

The parents’ handshake at the end was stilted and sudden but I enjoyed the comedy of it.

However, I was not a fan of the way Christine’s final speech hammered in the already evident connection between that handshake and the country’s political situation.

Perhaps the audience could have gotten there on their own.

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