GHA SECONDARY LITERATURE PRODUCTION
Title of production: ONE OUT, ONE IN
Cast: S.6 Literature Students of Greenhill Academy
Source text: Aminata by Francis Imbuga.
The days leading up to Monday 30th April, 2018, were filled with excited buzz throughout the secondary school. From the youngest students in Senior One, to the most studious of Senior Six, the excitement was barely concealed. A section of staff and administrators could also be seen, from time to time, darting in or around the Senior Six Literature class. A newcomer in the school would be forgiven for thinking that Greenhill was going to host the Broadway Theatre (the international drama equivalent of the Oscars).
Within the Literature department, itself, the feverish excitement nearly drove many crazy, as the theatrical army of student directors, actors (mainly from S.6 Literature class), professional dance trainers and their trainees (a combination of S.5 and S.6 Literature students), financiers and creative artists marched around at the relentless directions of the Literature teachers; the executive directors. At 2:00 pm, on the D-day, the excited buzz of the school finally gave way to bated breath and curious anticipation as the audience watched the blue curtains drawn to reveal a stage scene that promised the most memorable theatrical experience.
Dubbed One Out, One In, the 2018 adaptation of Francis Imbuga’s play, Aminata, was a theatrical marvel combining amazing stage effects like artificial lighting, smoke-machine, an improvised village scenery, unique sound effects – in addition to the traditional Greenhill staple of colorful appropriate costumes and out-of-this-world choreography – to compliment the amazing actors who had to tell the story of a major paradigm shift in the socio-cultural foundations of African societies.
Drawing on traditional themes of the undead ancestors and a male-dominated society, the story presents a young career woman who boldly challenges the unproductive mentality of superstition, subjugation of women, land rights and taboos of inheritance. In what appears to be a cataclysmic clash spearheaded by opposing members of one family, the society of Membe is thrown into serious reflection on the true value of the individual and the destiny of a changing African social landscape.
True to his style, Imbuga does not resolve this crisis, rather he presents stark realities that Social-cultural Change is inevitable, and yet it has both consequences and rewards, that must be expected and managed.
Against a background of acting and script masterly that arguably beats the Oscars, the most memorable actors that emerged were Agege, the village idiot (masterfully acted by Mutoni Chelsea) and Ababio, the tragic antagonist (skillfully displayed by Kalyango Moses).
Credit goes to the S.6 Literature students who worked hard to rise to the challenge and pulled off an amazing show against all odds; S.5 Literature students who sweated profusely to master an unprecedented display of choreography; the school administration for providing an enabling environment for cultural shows and nurturing of students’ diverse talents, and the teachers of the Literature department for once again proving that with Teamwork, the sky is not the limit; it is just the footstool.
See you next year for yet another breathtaking production. Thank you.
Jjuuko P. Andrew.