While the Phoenix Theatre isn’t likely to ‘rise from the ashes’ very soon (as the bird did in the Greek myth), Kenyan actors (some of whom were Phoenix regulars) haven’t been deterred from rising in their own right.
This weekend, starting tonight, ex-Phoenix cast members Justin Mirichii and Joyce Musoke are co-starring in My Better Halves at Alliance Francaise. It’s the premier performance for Sanifu Productions, a quirky comedy touching on sensitive issues, like mental health and marital strife, written by Mirichii himself.
Directed by Martin Kigondu (who’s normally seen directing his own scripts with Prevail Arts Productions), Mirichii plays a psychiatrist treating his own split personality and not handling it too well.
Meanwhile, over at PAWA254, Walter Sitati is back on stage this weekend with Hearts of Art performing in All I ever Wanted.
Sitati also wrote this ‘political and social satire’ which was previously staged back in 2016. But according to the playwright, the script has been serious ‘tweaked’ and revised to stay attuned to these times.
The show has a substantial cast. It’s still a courtroom drama with Peter Kawa as the Judge, Sitati and Ellsey O. Adhiambo as Counsels and a slew of witnesses.
Sitati’s scripts are always entertaining and deeply engaging. He’s one of Nairobi’s best although he was silent in 2017.
Meanwhile, set texts are having a hearing right now at the Sarakasi Dome Theatre. From this past Wednesday through 17 February, students will have a chance to see Jicho Four’s interpretation of Kigogo by Pauline Kea and The River and the Source by Margaret Ogola. The following month Jicho Four will also stage Ken Walibora’s Kidagaa Kimemwozea and Bertolt Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle.
A few weeks later, Nairobi Performing Arts Studio will also stage Kigogo and Caucasian Chalk Circle but at Kenya National Theatre. There’s bound to be a big difference between the two different interpretations, but it will be for the public to come and judge.
NPAS will also be staging the award-winning South African musical Sarafina in April.
What’s ironic is that the following month, Spellcast Media will also perform Sarafina at the Braeburn Theatre. Spellcast actually put on Sarafina first in 2015 as the company’s premier production.
“That is why we want to bring the musical back again,” says Andrew Tumbo, the show’s musical director. “We were brand new back then. Now we’re a more seasoned company,” he adds.