'Tales of The Accidental City' interrogates Nairobi life

The play is set in an anger management counselling session. 

Photo credit: File| Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The play, Tales of The Accidental City, is a fresh breath into the literary scene.
  • The members of the group are supposed to learn how to manage anger.
  • The narration in the podcasts is told with all the key fundamental techniques of a story.

The play, Tales of The Accidental City, written and directed by the award-winning playwright, Maimoua Jallow, is a fresh breath into the literary scene.

A production of Positively African organisation, the audio play interrogates the challenges that ordinary people undergo in Nairobi City in their attempt to survive, earn a living and support their families.

It consists of three episodes of about ninety minutes and is told in a hilarious fashion. It is set in a counsellor’s office. The members of the group are supposed to learn how to manage anger, while the counsellor is keen on sharing practical tips on how to manage the same and coexist peacefully with each other.  

Outburst of emotions

The first episode, The Devil is in theDetail features Mercy Mutisya, who plays Jacinda. She has been sent by a court of law to the counsellor to learn how to manage her anger.

Her fault? She expresses an outburst of emotions after realising that her husband has stolen her hard-earned money to spend it with a college mistress.

She provides minutest details of her relationship with the husband, and what led her to fight him publicly.

The counsellor encourages her to speak up and be honest to a fault, as that is the first step into dealing with anger.

Hence, there is a need for people to learn how to manage emotions.

The second episode, Maize and Beans, reveals the anguish that mothers go through after losing their children to child traffickers. Diana is thrust off balance after her child is kidnapped in a market. She has to start the frantic search of her baby, and no one seems to be helpful to her. It is then that she realises that child traffickers use “beans” as the code word for girls. Similarly, “maize” is used to refer to boys in the kidnapper’s language. The authorities who would be expected to unravel the mystery and be of help only mocks her fate.

Eventually, she gets to meet her child's kidnapper and in the expression of anger, hits her with a stone, and she now has to attend therapy sessions on managing her anger.

Privilege of political class

The City will Swallow Us Up features a relatively well-up man, a former city councillor. Louis represents the privilege that the political class enjoys and the minor issues that they conflict about, basically of power tussles. While the other two episodes feature people from the informal settlement, the introduction of Louis is a balanced representation of society. It is a clear demonstration that anger, as a personal emotion that emanates from within but triggered by external factors, can be expressed by anyone. Hence, there is a need for people to learn how to manage emotion.

The narration in the podcasts is told with all the key fundamental techniques of a story. There is rife use of flashbacks and story within the story, which makes the narrative more relatable and brings it to life. The podcast is fun to listen to, entertaining and equally educative.

Launched today at the Ake Festival, the play features Eddy Kimani who plays Louis Njoroge, and Mercy Mutisya plays as Jacinda, Lorella Jowi acts as Counsellor Rose, Martina Anyoro voices Diana while Tana Kioko is Sarah Obama.

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