By Margaretta wa Gacheru (posted 17 October 018)
Jackson Biko is no ordinary columnist who writes about all sorts of people and places, getting his stories read all over East Africa and beyond.
He’s also an award-winning blogger whose bikozulu.co.ke blog is read by thousands of loyal fans who eagerly await his weekly posts.
Most importantly right now, bikozulu’s stories have been adapted for stage by Mbeki Mwalimu of Back to Basics productions. Entitled ‘Breathe: stories by Jackson Biko’, this unique storytelling session opens tonight at Alliance Francaise and runs through the weekend.
Directed by the ingenious Gilbert Lukalia who is also one of the star-studded cast, Mbeki (who is also the founder of B2B) and Gilbert assembled some of Nairobi’s finest actors to be part of this innovative, original show. They include Martin Githinji, Mary Mwikali, Nick Ndeda, Wanjiku Mburo and Bilal Wanjau as well as Daisy Tembo, Bokeba Mbotela, Wakio Mzenge and Gilbert.
The show has been set up almost orchestrally, with the full cast on stage at the outset and the end. And then, as if like oceanic tides, the cast members will roll in and out depending on which of the stories they will tell.
What’s ingenious is also the way the stories are told. They are not simply narrated; they are dramatized and also shared among several voices, being either Bikozulu or the characters whose stories have been adapted for stage.
“We have been careful to only use Biko’s words,” says Mbeki who underscores that while she has selected the stories (around ten) and Gilbert has set them into that orchestral-style, the script itself is all Bikozulu or just Jackson Biko.
Meanwhile, Aperture Africa Productions is all set to put on another one of their most spectacular fantasy musicals. The big difference this year is that “Cinderella” will be accompanied by a live 13-piece orchestra!
‘Cinderella’ is possibly the best known children’s fairy tale in the world. The tale of the poor orphan girl (Stephaniah Lago) who ultimately finds her Prince Charming (Tirath Padam) is a classic. But it will be uniquely told this year as directed by Amar Desai and featuring a wonderful cast. In addition to Lago and Padam, Elsie Oluoch plays the wicked step-mother and Libby Ndambo plays Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother.
This Aperture fairy tale is bound to be a dazzling, magical and beautifully designed, costumed and coiffed production which will run from 26-28 October at the Oshwal Centre auditorium.