Such a privilege to get a front-row seat to the fifth edition of Too Early for Birds (TEFB), that imaginative team of young Kenyan actors, writers, and historians who blend history, humour and technology with a brilliant fourth dimensional style of storytelling.
Already having its own history, despite being little more than two years old, TEFB has a track record that compelled theatre lovers to count on seeing them produce a captivating show that would not only be hilarious but historically insightful, and theatrically innovative.
Announcing the fifth was to be all about Tom Mboya, who knew how much we didn’t know about the late trade union leader who might have become Kenya’s second President had he lived beyond 39 years.
TEFB was true to form in revealing all sorts of salient facts and sparkling anecdotes about the man and the historic moments where he made major impacts, not only in Luo-land, Kenya or even Africa where he was elected chairman (in absentia) of the All-Africa People’s Conference in Ghana in 1958, Mboya’s charm, brilliance, electrifying energy and charismatic character swiftly got him hooked up with millionaires, Black power leaders and even future American presidents, like John F. Kennedy Jr.
Directed by Mugambi Nthige, and scripted by TEFB team, including the troupe’s cofounder Ngartia Bryan (with Abu Sense), the show featured 10 versatile actors who took on an array of characters that had played an integral part in Mboya’s life.
AIRLIFTS TO US
Virtually all of them also took turns storytelling, each in his or her own inimitable style. The one constant character was Mboya himself, played by Xavier Ywaya who recently starred in the Chatterbox production of ‘Lwanda Rockman’ (he as Lwanda).
It was a show that sparkled with stories that were instantaneously dramatised as the stage shape-shifted from moment to moment.
At once Mboya was in New York with his multi-millionaire buddy, William Scheinman, (nicknamed Blinky Bill), the man who bankrolled scores of Kenyans airlifted to schools in the US.
Then he’d be among the masses activating Kenya’s first trade union movement. And finally, his fatal trip to a pharmacy on Moi Avenue where he was murdered.
In just two hours, TEFB gave us rich insights and enormous entertainment, revealing mastery and brilliance.