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Art

Raucous radicals doomed to fail from the start

Nice Githinji
Radicals directed by Nice Githinji. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU | NMG 

‘Radicals’ is a dark but action-packed play that was workshopped into being by Nice Githinji and her latest crop of Jinice Visafe Players.

The players are young people, being mentored by the actress-turned-‘mwalimu’, who clearly have unflattering opinions of revolutionaries bent on overturning ‘the system’ by any means necessary.

The Golden Boys is the gang of radicals named by Bilal Mwaura, the playwright (better known as an edgy actor) that took the youth’s opinions and wove them into an explosive script. He was careful not to identify them with any cult, cause or culture apart from the kind that shoots first and doesn’t bother to ask questions after that.

Most violent among them is the sadistic Zuri (Violent Bijura). She’s the one who laughs wildly when people die and is even more gleeful when she sees killings by one of the Boys, including the bomb-maker Seven (Tedd Murene) who she’s taunted for being a coward for not wanting to die.

The play is all about the disintegration of the group after they have been ambushed and their leader seriously wounded.

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Many of the Boys have already died, but as they captured one of the ‘enemy’, they hope to obtain random money to use to escape over the border. But as this sorry lot has no unifying ideology, aspiration or radical goal other than destruction of the status quo, nor do they have a leader to hold them together, they only have the number two, Shadow (Francis Ouma Faiz). But he arrives at their temporary camp after the chaos has already begun. All he can do is bring in another ‘enemy’ and inform the Boys they have a snitch in their midst.

Zuri has already finished the first ‘enemy’ and clearly got a kick out of killing him. She’s so trigger-happy that nobody among them is safe, especially the dying leader’s wife (Lucy Waheto) who she suspects correctly is the mole.

In the end, everybody dies (apparently) apart from Tee (Cindy Sharrifa) who’s the only one in the group who seems to have any sense. She’s the one who finally shoots the snitch after she’s exposed by the cop who’s arrived in time to finish off this sorry lot of so-called radicals.

With effective sound and lighting by Tim King’oo (who’s soon to stage Sibi Okumu’s ‘Kaggia’), Radicals projects a clear-cut message, that radicalism doesn’t work.

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