LEADING theatre outfit, Rooftop Promotions, directed by Daves Guzha, has unleashed a theatre bomb titled Pregnant with Emotion, which is set to ignite fierce debate owing to its political satire.
The play started showing last week and ends tom
orrow at Theatre in the Park. Arguably one of the best productions to come out of the Rooftop stable, Pregnant with Emotion is furnished with trenchant political venom and takes a close look at the social, economic and political crisis in the country in a light-hearted fashion.
The production, which was co-written by Raisedon Baya and comedian Edgar Langeveldt, depicts an imaginary society gnashing its teeth under a despotic ruler, with a star-studded cast of actors comprising Walter Muparutsa, Daves Guzha, Mandla Moyo, Thembi Ngwabi, poet Chirikure Chirikure and mbira songbird Chiwoniso Maraire.
It centres on the ordeal suffered by Moyo who plays Noah, a dedicated cadre of his party, and his pregnant wife Marwei, portrayed by Ngwabi. The couple’s baby is overdue and Marwei claims that it talks to her regularly, which boggles Noah’s mind.
Despite his loyalty and allegiance, Noah ends up tasting bitter medicine from the regime he supports. In a replay of government’s infamous Operation Murambatsvina, municipal authorities raze the couple’s house, thus exacerbating their plight as they come face-to-face with a plethora of vicissitudes after being rendered homeless.
The unborn child represents a new beginning and bright prospects for the society, while on the other hand Noah is tasked by spiritual guardians to confront the Warden, a despotic leader refusing to relinquish power to enable society to move forward.
Pregnant with Emotion subtly satirises Zimbabwe’s chronic fuel, food and power problems and brings to the fore the question of succession and political leadership in local politics. Although artistic work is polysemic, the central thrust of this play is crystal clear.
The hard-hitting production has already received critical acclaim from some quarters of the media for openly challenging the establishment. Guzha this week told Independent Xtra that the arts sector has a mandate to take a fearless stance “when a country is going through turmoil”.
“How do we encourage people to go forward? We’re in a leadership crisis that cuts across all political parties at the moment. What we’re simply saying is that let’s discuss the succession issue openly. The arts sector has an instrumental role to play, as it acts as a mirror of society.
“As Rooftop we don’t go out of our way to produce provocative work but people must not expect us to be passive and ignore the reality and situation on the ground.” He said his theatre stable’s work was a simple mimic of what transpires in everyday Zimbabwe.
Guzha added that leaders are anointed by God: “It doesn’t matter whether you’re George Bush or Tony Blair.
Leaders are anointed by the omnipotent who is responsible for all life and creation.”
Perhaps the most captivating scene is when an irate man played by Chirikure says: “We don’t know where to begin. Our tongues are too heavy! Heavy with anger, frustration, sorrow and fear. We thought they were part of us and us part of them. Their skin colour and the fact that they talk our language deceived us. We are left wondering, asking questions. Wondering what really went wrong?”
The woman besides him (Maraire) provides the answer: “Now we know better. They are not part of us and we are not part of them. They were never and will never.
“They are on the other side of the river. If they were part of us they would be walking with us. But when we walk they fly. When we cry they sing. When we go hungry they feast. They are on the other side of the river and our eyes are open. Wide open.”