On Saturday night I made it a point to go for a date with my little sister to the recently launched Jasen Mphepo little theater, the second of its kind in Harare where my friend Patricia Putsai who was part of the cast of the thrilling performance Inside Out had invited me.
Little did I know that the one minute drive outside of the CBD, just at the second robot after the one at Enterprise and Samora towards Newlands would change my whole perspective on theatre performances, leaving a mark.
At first I was disheartened by the crowd that seemed smaller at the time but little did I know that I was in for the most thrilling one hour of my life. The energetic cast stormed on the stage, screaming and shouting in some well rehearsed confusion while sirens were heard from the background and for a minute there, my instincts told me to run for the scene had just been ripped from the locked away part of my conscience like every other Zimbabwean who had experienced or heard of the violent demonstrations that rocked the country.
At this point I became numb to everything else around me and I became the cast, for that whole hour I was reliving the terror, pain, anger, anguish, destroyed hopes and near death experiences where the gods and goddesses of the performance, the cast were taking me.
The cast ceased to be actors, infact from beginning to end they were not acting as somewhere in the background before the play began they were all reincarnated to be the characters they played.
The young men and women who had embraced their accents in respect of their different languages and dialects teleported me to what happened inside the homes of the general populace which was affected by the massive shut downs that rocked the country unsparingly showing everything that we sometimes do not want to believe to be truth as a people.
They narrated the ordeal of a 20 year old college boy Skills who is caught in the cross fire of the demonstrations through association, detained, tortured by law enforcement agents in the most inhumane of ways without leaving a traceable trail of the torture before being let loose without being charged.
The crew took the audience which was most likely locked safely in their homes and ignorant of events that had happened to the unfortunate citizens who were detained by the police on the fateful days.
Since the play is going to be performed again this coming Thursday, Friday and Saturday I will not preempt all the contents as I would have loved to.
I blinked for the first time at the end of the play as I could not afford to lose a glimpse of this brilliant masterpiece, passionately written by Raisedon Baya and well directed by Jasen Mphepo.
I need to make special mention of the cast which was made up ofNgoni Chikowore, Heather Jeke, Kudzai Chengedza , Liberty Matole baba, Putsayi, Shahmaine Mukutirwa, kudzai chimhanda and Natasha Moyo for giving me a world class performance.
This indeed was world class, a very underrated section of our entertainment industry which has prospects to grow bigger if only you and me could give it a chance.
The crowd however grew during the course of the night and on Saturday again, I’m back at Jasen Mphepo little theater this time with a bigger crowd so my people will not miss this amazing thriller.