Breathe: Bikozulu comes to theatre
1 months ago, 17 Oct 04:27
For most people, Tuesday is just another days of the week, a refreshing start after kicking off the Monday blues. But for Biko fans, Tuesday is the day they race to his website bikozulu.co.ke for their weekly fix of spell-bounding stories. I am not using the term race figuratively, there are actually updates on the comment section of who got to the site first, no kidding!
Whereas their enthusiasm is tickling, it is not unexplainable. Jackson Biko is an award-winning writer whose stories continue to move the hearts of many readers around the world.
Last year as he turned 40, Biko did a series of interviews that featured different people in their 40s. From career choices to breaking free from alcoholism, bad marriages and bankruptcy, men and women went ahead to unpack it all with stories of their lived experiences.
On his website, Biko skilfully served these stories laden with life lessons. It is said that experience is the best teacher and the wise ones learn from the experience of others.
Mbeki Mwalimu is the director of Back to Basics, a theatre company which focuses on Kenyan productions. She also happens to be a big fan of Biko’s stories.
It happened that one time while catching up with Biko, the conversation flowed to the idea of having some of his stories on stage. It was one of those ideas that sort of just jump on you, she says.
And so Breathe came to life; a random idea shared between two outstanding creatives. In a tweet announcing the play, Mbeki wrote: “What started off as a casual chat with Biko is about to morph into a spell binding production. We must honour this literary genius!”
She has dubbed the production Bikozulu in theatre. The play opens on Friday, October 19, 2018 and will run all through the weekend at the Alliance Francaise auditorium, Nairobi.
Mbeki shared with Nation.co.ke on what theatre enthusiasts should expect as Bikozulu’s stories come life on stage for the first time ever.
What can you say sparked off this idea of staging Jackson Biko’s stories?
First of all, I love his stories and it turns out that most of the cast and crew are fans too. His writing takes you on a journey that leaves you lingering with fancy phrases, vivid images and the reminder to just breathe. And that is how we also came up with the name for the show.
What was his reaction when you shared with him the idea of bringing his stories to the theatre?
You see, nobody has ever staged his stories before. He found the whole concept very interesting and he is looking forward to seeing how this will turn out. We all are.
Biko has written so many stories, and just when you think you have read the best one, he hits you with another breathtaking piece. What was your criteria in deciding which stories to stage for this particular show?
You are right, his website has so many great stories and we had to have a ...
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