The Star (Nairobi)

16 February 2013

Kenya: John Sibi-Okumu's Play Premieres At Phoenix

Kiss TV's John Sibi-Okumu has written a new and original play for The Phoenix Theatre titled Meetings. "The play was commissioned last June, specifically to run prior to the forthcoming elections. I would describe it as a wake up call to Kenyans to abandon a culture of physical and emotional violence and move to one of tolerance and acceptance," said Sibi-Okumu who is famed for his weekly news show, JSO@7.

In the play, Faoulata, under the guise of interviewing her grandmother for a book on the families of political dissidents is, in fact, searching for her own roots.

She already knows that the father whom she has never seen since she was a little girl went into exile and formed a union abroad with a woman other than her own mother.

She knows that her half brother is called Samora, as an attestation to their father's commitment to the continuing struggle. There is expectation in the air: She is preparing for a civil marriage.

Her father Augustus, 'Gus' to all, is returning to be in Kenya in time to witness momentous elections. Some excitement and tension are also foreseeable, for several reasons: Gus will be accompanied by Samora, for whom it will be a first trip to "Africa!" Some sensitive encounters will be in order: With Grandma; with Uncle Julius, with Esther, Faoulata's abandoned mother, and with Meshack, the father of Faoulata's chosen one Ezekiel, with whom Gus had a fractious, class-defined relationship when both of them once shared a university dormitory room many years before in politically turbulent times.

The new exciting play directed by Nick Njache started yesterday and will run until March 2. On the final day, there will be two shows, an early one starting at 3pm and the final show at 6pm.

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