STILL on the School Arts Association of Zambia (SAAZ) Copperbelt Provincial performing arts festival held in Mufulira a fortnight ago; I now make the final installment on the same.
Described by the Provincial chairperson Chilufya Nkandu as an apt and successful festival what is merely left of SAAZ are productions or plays; they need to innovative, creative, original, unusual, and well directed – broadly, there is fundamentally the need for intensive workshops for teachers and directors for them to understand the rudiments of drama.
Not only did Chilufya say this was an illustrative festival, many others who independently watched the performances did say the same thing; Percy Nonde, an actor at Mufulira Little Theatre said the festival was good from every perspective; organisation and performances.
Head teacher for the hosting school, Mufulira secondary, Charity Chavula said she was particularly impressed with the impartial adjudication.
Her school topped in cultural dances and is headed for Mansa where the national SAAZ festival is scheduled to take place beginning on August 9.
Though mainly institutionalised in academic schools, most teachers are engaging young directors who are not teachers to help polish their plays, which is understandable.
Therefore, directors have an enormous role to play far more than producers when you look at the way schools are setup.
The director essentially is the person that taps the talent, inspires the actors, and work round them to realise the discipline required in theatre added with it the movements on stage, the gestures, emotions and reactions, and the entire stagecraft necessary in good play productions.
These directors should not overlook the discipline needed in theatre by either disputing results once a group fails to scoop first position or engage in uncouth behaviour.
After all, though festivals are important these plays in schools should not end there, but widely staged in other schools too.
I was bewildered with Chingola Secondary School’s The Pastor and the run-away Bride by Lee Karim Augustine predominantly for two reasons; the play was exclusively different from all the others, and the movements on stage were exceptional.
The author, Lee Augustine who I know resides in Ndola, was hired to work with Chingola Secondary school; hence he worked round the clock, round a theme he thought would stand out unlike the many premises that were replicated, and appeared to have been written by one person.
Most young writers in schools are merely picking subject matters from Nigerian and other foreign movies, or other plays to recreate what they consider their own scripts. This is wrong, and should be nipped in the bud.
They should stop this, as it is criminal, and schools found will need to pay for plagiarising.
This is as criminal as pirating original works.
Eric Kasomo, a playwright, and one of the adjudicators during the festival noted one of his old plays The Will plagiarised into several types.
It surely should feel bad to watch one’s own play particularly when it is even poorly done!
The young directors in school are categorically to blame, because when they walk into these schools, they make believe to be playwrights, yet end up picking other people’s works!
Correspondingly, the matrons and patrons in schools share the blame for not scrutinizing the scripts that are auditioned in their schools.
The teachers should firstly, strictly enquire from the directors where the plays they want to audition come from, who were the author or authors, had the director secured rights to perform the plays or if they were the authors, were the plays originally authored by them?
These and many other questions can bring out lots of information, and help the schools proceed effectively well.
Plays and other cultural activities in schools should not simply be dreamed of ending up as school stories at the festival, but ones that should go beyond and shown on television and made into cds for other people to learn from.
Schools as a result, can raise funds, and store for posterity, there history. Therefore, there is every need for authenticity or and originality or else they would not pass for anything worth watching if they are plagiarised.
Last Sunday Sunga Mukoshi lost one of the key men Emmanuel Chibamba who died in Kitwe following an illness.
I remember Emmanuel strongly opposing to move out of Buchi hall where his cultural group rehearses from when one local Kitwe City Council officer wanted to evict them disregarding the importance the cultural group had made during national events.
Emmanuel went out of his way to meet the Town Clerk and District Commissioner in Kitwe, and the matter was amicably settled in favor of Sunga Mukoshi – primarily Emmanuel’s role was very well noticeable.
He was one of the best artistic drummers, and skilled dancer, and surely not only will the team miss him, but the theatre fraternity with which groups like Chingola Arts Society and Nkana-Kitwe Arts Society used his team to incorporate in some play performances. MHSRIP.