The Stagemaster; Manasseh Chisiza



By Yona Gondwe

Having been on and off stage for some time, one of the seasoned stage masters, Oneness Arts Theatre (OAT), has said time is now ripe for it to be actively dishing out edutaining plays in various corners of the country.

The declaration was made immediately after a successful launch of the theater’s two productions, “A cry for my beloved country”,andDying from the inside” in Mzuzumid, and late last month.

According to the grouping’s founder, Manasseh Chisiza, it is high time OAT reclaimed its lost glory by making stage plays as active as they were back then.

“We’ve come here to stay. We want to make stage acting as vibrant as possible. Malawians have been dying to be watching such kind of performances,” he declared.

Chisiza said from the warm reception OAT received during the launch of the earlier highlighted two plays, it was evident most Malawians love this genre.

“You could just see from the warm reception that Malawians are into stage plays. It’s just unfortunate that we’ve been giving them a raw deal. But believe you me, Oneness Arts Theatre is here to stay!” He promises.

The two plays, both of which were written and directed by Chisiza, are tackling real life issues currently rocking Malawi.

A cry for my beloved country is a poetic stage production which is aiming at fighting the killing and abduction of people born with albinism while Dying from the inside is tackling domestic violence issues.

During the launch, audiences were treated to some rare feat as “a cry for beloved country” wasfused with music and is featuring multi award winning musician, Tiwonge Hango. Him was behind the music composition and direction.

On why the said fusion, Chisiza said they had wanted to spice up the performances.  

“Music, and stage plays are both artistic performances, as such fusion them creates such a masterpiece that’s too enticing to watch,” he lengthened.

Commenting after being treated to the rare performances, one of the patrons who was at the Mzuzu University’s auditorium during OAT’s performances, Mufwase Nkhata, was run short of words for the scintillating display by the youthful group.

“There had been a series of half-baked stage performances by other theatres, but what’s I’ve seen today is something on another level. This is what we’d been lacking!” praise she.

Meanwhile, as one way of cementing OAT’s performance revival, the theater is now embarking on a secondary school tour which will see it making dates with various northern region schools before flocking to the other regions. This, according to Chisiza, will leave lasting impact on the future generation.

“Secondary schools are the hub of the future of Malawi; arts inclusive. If we inject the spirit of appreciation for local arts in secondary school lads, it would be a strong foundation for our future,” he lecturers.

While touring the schools, OAT will be rehearsing a new production titled “The Visiting Professor “which was written by a renowned playwright, Mapopa Sanga.



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