ROMANCING THE MILLENNIALS
By Margaretta wa Gacheru (13 Febuary 2019)
Walter Sitati broke his track record of scripting, directing and staging social satires with Hearts of Art’s recent romantic comedy, ‘Careless in Red’, performed last weekend at Kenya National Theatre and directed by award-winning thespian Gilbert Lukalia.
In keeping with the seasonal spirit of Valentine’s romance, Sitati scripted a thoroughly modern ‘masterpiece’ that seemed perfectly suited for millennials in the market for semi-serious relationships. It’s lighter than nearly all his previous scripts. Indeed, his last show, ‘Sins and Stilettos’ sounded the alarm on reckless politicians who seduce young female interns who in turn take their abuser to court.
‘Careless in Red’ is a far cry from courtroom drama. It’s got an American ‘Friends’ kind of collegiality, with two flats-full of millennials, one all-girls, the other mainly boys plus Mazulu, a college girl (Pauline Kyalo) who works as a shoe-shiner to cover her costs. None are married but nearly all are exploring possibilities.
Like Dayo (Allan Wasike), who brings different females to the flat every weekend, only this time, he’s met his match in Lulu (Claire Masila) who refuses to be tossed like tissue paper. Dayo’s a joker in contrast to his more serious blogger roommate Kafele (Mufasa the rapper) whose popular blog has just heated up social media with his provocative query: ‘Why are you going to marry the wrong person?’
As it becomes the top tweet trending on social media that week, radio broadcaster Isoke (Patience Akinyi) invites him onto her talk show. But since she’s secretly got a crush on him, she asks her roommate (also a broadcaster), Femi (Tracy Amadi) to go on air with them. She also wants Femi there because she knows her friend has a critical perspective to counter that of the blogger.
Two other relationships in the play that raise delicate issues are Azizi (Azziad Nasenya) and Fifi (Elvis Gatere), and the two shoe-shiners, Mazulu and Jabulani (Ramsey Njire). Jabulani’s full time job is CEO in a regional NGO but he takes up shining shoes part-time just to be near Mazulu for whom he feels deeply but can’t tell her so. In contrast, Fifi’s prepared to confess his feelings for Azizi but she’s got the emotional depth of a frivolous teenager.
There’s lots of hormonal energy flying in Careless in Love, almost too much to keep track of all at once. But Lukalia makes it work, makes the script and these young stars shine.