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‘Woza Albert’ comes down to Blantyre

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After showing the two-man play Woza Albert in Lilongwe recently, the International Alliance for Umunthu Theatre now brings the production down to Blantyre.

The play will be staged at HS Winehouse Friday night.

Struggling to hold shows because they cannot afford to pay for venues which are expensive.

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International Alliance for Umunthu Theatre has since promised the best tonight with Woza Albert.

The theatre group, which is made up of former University of Malawi – Chancellor College Travelling Theatre members, has adapted Woza Albert, a political satire play that imagines the second coming of Christ in apartheid-ridden South Africa.

“We are prepared. We have been doing extensive rehearsals and now we can rightly say that we are ready for Blantyre and we are calling upon people to come in large numbers,” said assistant director of the play, Vitumbiko Zgambo.

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Zgambo said they received an overwhelming response in Lilongwe and they were anticipating the same support in Blantyre.

“We are leaving no stone unturned to get recognition in the country and outside. We know it’s not easy. Our aim is to help uplift theatre in the country,” he said.

Zgambo said they adapted Woza Albert because of its unique presentation on the struggle of an ordinary man in apartheid South Africa.

“It’s a challenging play and we believe by the end of the day people will appreciate and see the need why we adapted this production. We also got this play to challenge ourselves because it is one of the best plays in South Africa,” Zgambo said.

Woza Albert is a play that opened at Johannesburg’s Market Theatre and toured in Europe and America as the most successful play to come out of South Africa, winning more than 20 prestigious awards worldwide.

In 2003, the play was produced by Terence Frisby at the Criterion Theatre in London.

Woza Albert (which means Rise Albert) was written by Percy Mtwa, Mbongeni Ngema and Barney Simon in 1981.

In 2002, it was performed in London by Siyabonga Twala and Errol Ndotho.

The two actors play roles of various black South Africans – a vendor, barber, servant, manual labourer, soldier – receiving the news that Christ (Morena) has arrived in the rainbow nation, where a Calvinist white elite imposes apartheid.

The Malawi adaptation has been directed by Kellie Chikoko and features Bright Chayachaya and Fletcher Chelewani.

Zgambo said Woza Albert has stories which are similar to the Malawian situation.

Several adaptation plays have come out and recently Thlupego Chisiza and Mzumara staged Sizwe Bansi is Dead HS Winehouse seems to be gaining mileage as far as hosting different arts events is concerned as two weeks ago it also played host to a one-man play starring Misheck Mzumara.

The place is not 100 percent perfect fit for hosting theatre productions but the owners have tried their best to create a platform that has seen people embracing the performances.

Mzumara hailed HS Winehouse after starring in Tales of A Migrant for opening up the venue for free for artists.

He said many artists were in Blantyre.

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