‘De Summer Blow’ brings back Du
By Sam Banda Jnr:
It is 20 years since theatre maestro Du Chisiza Jr passed on but his spirit lives on and it returned to Blantyre Cultural Centre (BCC), formerly French Cultural Centre (FCC) on Sunday through his 1994 production De Summer Blow staged by some of his children led by actress Doreen Chisiza and friends.
The play, which was published into a book in 1998 came to BCC barely a week after it was staged at Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe, where it failed to pull a huge audience.
But it was a different story at BCC, where the performance attracted an impressive audience that included some of the actors such as Frank Patani Mwase, Emmanuel Maliro and Waliko Makhala that starred with Du.
In the play, which lasted close to two hours, people rekindled memories of Du’s exploits and, no wonder, many stayed firm to their seats until the end as they followed the story of a brilliant ‘A’ student Peter, played by Kelvin Ngoma, from a rich family who is introduced to the world of drugs and alcohol and then gets caught up in a web of conflicting parental love and peer pressure.
Most of the actors were not there when Du staged the play except Edwin Saidi and probably Jeremiah Mwaungulu, who worked hard to blend with the others to bring out a sweet production.
Saidi, who was involved in several productions with Du including Tatuya Futi and Sir Daniels, starred as grandpa, a role played by Du and although not in the same class, Saidi executed his role perfectly keeping the audience entertained throughout with his jokes.
Thlupego Chisiza, who has followed his father’s footsteps and has been in the limelight with his Lions Theatre, was part of the cast as he took the role of Wonder, one of the people who taught Peter alcohol and drugs while Mwaungulu played Ra, another youngman, who was involved in teaching Peter smoking chamba.
Doreen, who is based in United States of America and leaves today, said it was such a bitter sweet feeling for her obviously because she is going back.
“The audience was massive and I am so glad the cast came through. I lost my voice but I am so glad that it’s the beginning of a new journey. This was my dad’s home and everyone felt the energy,” Doreen said.
The actress was performing there for the first time since her father’s death and on the prospects of continuing the performances, Doreen said:
“I am just one person but the main crew is here, we have such great actors and I will facilitate a few things and will be able to support them. People should just keep an eye on us; we are not gone, we will be back”.
Marketer Wilkins Mijiga said the performance brought back memories of the good old days when Du was around.
“It was a very important moment. The actors did well and I think it was a wonderful performance. We are on the right trajectory and this is a renaissance of theatre which can be a source of recreation, employment, networking and people sharing ideas”, Mijiga said.
He added that there were brilliant ideas in the production about parenting, forgiveness and taking responsibility as well as “looking after our children”.
Mwase, who played a part in De Summer Blow during Du’s time, said he was happy with the performance in the sense that there is a future.
“It was a good performance, they gave it their all. There were some nitty-gritty details but we must not over compare it with the time of Du. It rekindled something that was already there, something I have been thinking about and very shortly something will come out,” Mwase said.
He said they delayed to come out because of the memorial show but theatre lovers should watch the space.
“It was refreshing to see how the current team played their roles. From today going forward, theatre in English will be making a comeback, we are fired up. The problem is that the old folk think they know it all but young folks can lead the way,” Mwase said.
Other actors who starred in the play include Serah Chisiza, Tchumbo Chisiza, Ngongite Chisiza and Lunyetto Nyirenda.
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