THE opening of Jasen Mphepo Little Theatre last week in Harare came along with the premiere of an emotional play, Inside Out, which touched on political and socio-economic challenges affecting ordinary Zimbabweans. The country has become a zone for mass protests, state security brutality, fuel shortages and poor healthcare services.
With a cast of 15, Inside Out is centred on the January 2019 protests which were characterised by looting and killing of civilians following President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s decision to hike fuel prices by over 150%.
Members of the audience commended the producers and cast for their courage to speak about critical issues, normally swept under the carpet.
“I am still to come to terms with whether this was reality or fiction. It was so emotional. These young people have their own stories that they can tell generations to come,” said Poets Editors Novelists Zimbabwe president Elisha July.
Author and academic Charlton Tsodzo said the play creatively re-enacted political and socio-economic challenges faced by ordinary people.
“They managed to package the national question in a creative theatrical presentation which everyone can relate to. These issues are politically sensitive such that some people don’t want to discuss them. Theatrical presentations depoliticise, depolarise and desensitise,” he said.
Playwright Raisedon Baya told NewsDay Life & Style that he was prompted to write Inside Out by the desire to tell a story that resonates with the people of Zimbabwe.
“There are stories that just want to be told, and people want stories that resonate with them. So, as a writer, I was pushed to come up with such a story in order to remain relevant,” he said.
Director of the play Jasen Mphepo said the play, which took over a month to produce, would go on a tour around the country, starting with Mutare on a date yet to be confirmed.
Jasen Mphepo said it took over a month to produce the play.
Leading actors are Ngoni Chikowore who plays Skills, his mother in the play Heather Jeke, Kudzai Chengedza (Mai Thomas) and Liberty Matole (Baba Skills).