Home » Arts & Culture » Comedy Lights Up Hifa 2014

The Harare International Festival of the Arts 2014 theatre programme with 12 local productions and five foreign productions is greatly enriched by the DANIDA comedy programme under the theme “Combating Gender Based Violence” that features four foreign stand -up comedians and six Zimbabwean stand-up comedians who will present 18 shows during the 6 day festival.

This bumper harvest of theatre will no doubt be one of the dominant features of this festival.

Featuring in the 18 show stand up comedy programme are Malawi’s Daliso Chaponda with two shows of “Barely legal”at 7 Arts Theatre, Uganda’s David Kubbuka with two shows at 7 Arts Theatre South Africa’s Ben Voss with three shows of “Bend it Like Beauty” at the ZB Bank Reps Theatre and Tats Nkozo, also from South Africa with three shows of “Live at HIFA”at the ZB Bank Rep Theatre.

The local team of stand-up comedians which is led by Carl Joshua Ncube with two shows at ZB Bank Reps Theatre comprises Michael Kudakwashe, Clive Chigubu and Comrade Fatso with three shows of “Seventy Five Percent” at ZB Bank Reps Theatre and Simba the Comic King, Q and Andrew Manyika with four shows of their production at ZB Bank Reps Theatre Upstairs.

Local productions in the 35 show theatre programme include “Short and Sweet” with five short plays “A woman called Carol” by Mgcini Nyoni, “What are the odds” by Ogutu Muraya, “City Angel” by Oluka Jamilla,” Coming Out”by Blessing Hungwe and “The World Ten Minutes at a Time” which is an improvised piece. All the performances will at the ZB Bank Reps Theatre.

Chipo Chung , John Pfumojena and Tichaona Mutore star in “The Maids” directed by Giles Ramsay of Developing Artists and presented by the British Council and Developing Artists. The play which is “a story of two outcasts struggling to overcome their servile identity in a world that refuses to acknowledge them” will have three shows at Standard Theatre with an age restriction of no under 16.

Also to be presented at the Standard Theatre will be two shows of “She and He” – a Zimbabwe-Unites States of America collaboration which is co-written by Tafadzwa Muzondo (Zimbabwe) and Stephanie Guirand (USA). The play is presented as an exchange production by Zimbabwe’s Edzai Isu Theatre Arts Project and Daughters of Yamaya Collective of the United States of America. “She and He” asks questions about a marriage of a Zimbabwean man and a Haitian-American woman . The Zimbabwean man is not willing to go back home to Zimbabwe while his wife wants “a ticket to reconnect with her African roots.” This is a no under 12 age audience restriction for this play. Two other local productions in the HIFA 2014 Theatre Programme are “The Gods You’ve Built” and “Goodnight Harare” to be presented at the ZB Bank Theatre Upstairs. “The Gods You’ve Built” features Precious Mudzingwa, Dereck Nziyakwi and Leeroy Gono. The play explores “all the aspects of the human existence and the raw emotions that often lead us to self-destruction decisions.” The “Goodnight Harare” written and produced by Elinor Kennedy and directed by Simba Masusela features Takwana Saidi, Sue Evans and Larry Greef. The producer has declared that “Goodnight Harare” is a “laugh loud theatre guaranteed to wake up the neighbours.”

“Lovers in Time” which is written by Blessing Hungwe and produced by NKM Theatre Initiative in association with the University of Bedfordshire is another collaboration. The play “explores some taboos around the legacy of Mbuya Nehanda and Kaguvi, leaders of the local uprising against the white settlers at the end of the 19th Century”. The play which is directed by a British director – Agnieszka Piotrowaska and which will be presented at the Standard Theatre has a no under 12 age audience restriction.

The last production on the local production list is “Crucial Triviality” written by Joakim Daun and directed by Zane E. Lucas. Produced by One Million Theatre Company, “Crucial Triviality” is “a fast paced comedy where five different stories of people over sex, love, friendship and relationships are tested to their limits over what seems to be trivial things.”

Of the five foreign productions in the HIFA 2014 Theatre Programme four are from South Africa. To be presented at the ZB Bank Reps Theatre for three shows is “Madonna of Excelsior”- an adaptation of Zakes Mda’s novel of the same name. This 13 cast production which is directed by Roel Twijnstra has been declared “one of the most important South African productions of the year – a piece of theatrical history that has already toured the most prestigious theatre venues across South Africa.” All the shows of this production have a no under 18 age audience restriction. Another South African production is a one man theatre piece “My Father’s Hat” written and performed by Aldo Brincat who is directed by Zingi Mkafe – a South African based in New York. The third in the South African production list is a woman show “Meze,Mira and make-up” featuring Taryn Papadopoulos Louch. The play has been described as “a roller coaster, laugh-out-loud journey of an adolescent Greek girl who attempts to go against the grain of a typical Greek society as she grows up into a mature woman.” All the two shows of the play to be presented at the ZB Bank Reps Theatre is open to all ages.

The last in the list of South African plays being featured, is “Brothers in Blood” by a Cape Town based 4 Sense Theatre Company. The play’s four characters “explore religious and racial fault lines of their society, where ignorance , arrogance and prejudice combine to alienate human beings from each other.” The play which features Daniel Richards, Tarryn Wyngaard and Mathew Trustham and is directed by Mdu Kweyama has a no under 12 age audience restriction and will be presented at The Standard Theatre.

“A simple Space” from Australia completes the list of foreign productions in the HIFA 2014 Theatre Programme. This is a performance where “seven Australian acrobats push physical limits without reserve and is presented so intimately that you can feel the heat, hear every breath, and be immersed in every moment. The audience is brought in close to surround the stripped stage. In that space the acrobats are pushed to physical limit,breaking down their usual guards and introducing the reality of vulnerability.” All the three show of this production at the Standard Theatre are open to all ages.

In the theatre skills exchange and sharing sphere HIFA 2014 has scheduled six workshops. The first workshop is the Almasi Artist Master Acting Class for ten actors that will be selected by the Almasi Arts. The master classes which will “focus on text analysis, rhythm, verse as it pertains to August Wilson and Shakespeare”will be led by Andre Holland-an American actor and director. The master classes will be held from 8hrs to 13hrs from Friday 2nd May to Sunday 4th May at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. Thespians willing to be considered for the master classes should contact Elton Mjanana on 07772 849 106. The second workshop entitled “From Stage to Page” is a two hour workshop to be held on Wednesday 1st May from 14hrs to 16hrs and conducted by Roel Twinjistra-the director of ” Madonnas of Excelsior” who will “share his experience of adapting Zakes Mda’s novel.”

The third theatre workshop will be on physical theatre skills to be conducted by Lloyd Nyikadzino who will deal with the “basic of creating non text based physical theatre in a playmaking exercise” The workshop which is open for actors and directors will be held on Wednesday 30th April from 12.30hrs to 13.30hrs.

Two other workshops will also be held as part of the HIFA 2014 DANIDA Comedy Programme under the theme “Comedy Performance Combating Gender Based Violence”.

Participants in the two workshops will be assisted to “explore artistic responses to the challenge of reducing barriers between men and women, boys and girls in economic, political and civic arenas.”

Source : The Herald