A family pushed to the edge by a lack of funds occasioned by the global financial crisis was screened yesterday in a feature film during the third day of the ongoing Kenya National Drama and Film Festival at Shanzu Teachers College, Mombasa.
The Wahundura High School film, Twist of Fate, produced by Muchiri Mukunga and directed by Milkah Wafula and James Macharia, features Anthony Kinyanjui playing Dennis, Esther Kamande playing Miss Peterson (the bank manager), Benson Sikuku playing Dennis’s friend, and Peter Ndundu playing Dennni’s father (Njamba).
Njamba tries as hard as he can, but he can’t raise school fees for his son Dennis. On the verge of dropping out of school, Dennis gets a scholarship with Uzima Bank.
In an unexpected twist, the bank manager falls for Dennis, and at one point, on their way from an outing, they are involved in a road accident. It is a learning moment for all as Dennis learns the hard way why it is important to focus on his studies while the bank manager is schooled on why she should never take advantage of a minor.
Another feature film that also carried the day was screened by Westlands Primary School Story Yangu – which focused on responsible parenting as the key to moulding children.
St Paul’s Erusui Girls’ presented The Tempest, a verse about the cancer menace that is threatening the lives of Kenyans. This is escalated by the unhealthy food and drinks taken due to the greedy vendors who adulterate and intoxicate food with life-threatening toxins.
The verse called on the country to enforce standards for the food Kenyans consume. The verse was composed by Akoto Stanley and produced by senior principal Flora Muchesia.
Bungoma High School was scheduled to stage a choral verse, Apu Sumu, educating people on the use of the Internet, Busali Union choral verse, Chereko, about a rogue teacher who uses the Internet to confuse learners Friends School Mbihi Girls choral verse in Kimaragoli — Omwana wa Mageritsu.
Yesterday, the festival was partially interrupted by flashes of rain that ended up flooding several routes in Mombasa, delaying some teams from taking to the stage. The worst affected is the Mombasa-Malindi Road.
The erratic weather surprised most teachers and students from upcountry who had not carried warm clothing.
At Shimo la Tewa, the other venue hosting the festivals, Mwaani Girls from Makueni County, staged a hilarious play depicting the madness created by the digital transformation in society, which they observed had created more problems in society that needed to be dealt with.
Their play Generation Z was well received by the audience because of its simplicity in production and how the performers executed their roles. Produced by Joan Muchina and directed by Caroline Mutanya, Generation Z also brought something else new to the stage of performing art.
The clear delivery of their characters and clear emphasis are enhanced by the awareness of stage presence.
However, the play overshot its time limit after it lasted 49 minutes as opposed to the mandatory 40 minutes.
The festival that returns after a three-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic started on a high note after playwrights, directors, and choreographers spent the break researching and reloading their capabilities in stage direction.
Nairobi’s Highway Secondary staged a play dubbed In the Shadow of the Cacti, which highlighted to the audience the banditry nightmare for learners and the daily struggles of the pastoralist communities in northern Kenya.
In the play, Chepor, a school-going student, is forcefully married to a cattle rustler and a warlord named Lokidor, who masterminds the raiding of her school. Ironically, her twin brother, Merinyang, is part of the school raiders and ends up being shot in the kidney in one of the raids.
The play captures the nightmare of the ongoing disarmament action to create lasting peace in the north as residents suffer at the hands of bandits. The play is produced by Irungu Nduati and directed by Daphine Cheyech and Job Masika.
Dagoreti School from Nairobi County was a clear example of tremendous improvement in performing arts after the Covid-19 break.
Dagoreti cultural and creative dance Swiny presented in Luhya culture and beats at some point sounded like a beautiful Lingala benga extravaganza in the manner in which the soloist adopted some of the Lingala tunes and sang them in Luhya language to much excitement at the hall, including the adjudicators themselves.
Swiny was a dance on parental responsibilities in the face of the current economic and technological dynamics, told through the eye of a girl experiencing her first menstrual cycle.
The soloist, always carrying an imaginary microphone, told her story through singing. Her singing thrilled the audience as it was done in Lingala tunes but in Luhya, much to the excitement of the audience.
At the Shimo la Tewa Hall, Ngwata Primary School presented their Kiswahili play which revolves around lifestyle. The play, supported by the area MP Patrick Makau — Fulusi Nadhifu — took a swipe at the lifestyle where rich people tend to influence every area of life as less fortunate people.
The play was directed by Isiji wa Isiji.
Mahiakalo Primary School from Kakamega presented Swaga Balaa written and directed by Habwe Gedion and Francis Shikanda.