By Justin MKWEU.
Chichiri shopping Mall is famous for hosting Shoprite, Games Store and other famous merchandise shops down town Blantyre. However, this gigantic mall (by Malawian standards at least) is more than just a splendor for parting ways with our hard earned kobos; there’s more to this mall than meets the eye.
Game stores has got an underground car park. Along these premises, there are also underground loos for answering mother nature’s duties. Just opposite these facilities is a door clearly marked, M-Theatre.
Just as you set your feet on to the corridors to the auditorium, the mindset of M-Theatre being in Malawi clearly evaporates into thin air and in-comes the euphoria of being somewhere in the West. A sparkling corridor with bright lights on the walls greets you as it takes you towards the counter where snack attackers can call it a home.
Just like any theatre globally, this too hosts a variety of literary performances.
In an effort to unearth every local literary performer, the management of the auditorium has launched a stand-up comedy show involving Malawian citizens only. The would-be comedians had to undergo an audition which took place on the 17th and 24th of June 2017. The winners are to start outsmarting each other in the first episode of the show to be staged on the 1st of July 2017.
The Starting Point: Kudos!!
The idea of having a comedy show that will involve local acts put a smile on many faces that finally Malawi may stop importing locally available materials like comedians. One of the excited people was the poet Yangairo Yangie who attended the first auditions and summed up his excitement in this way (via his Facebook timeline)
“Yes we import almost everything, literally we can import anything, be it toothpicks, cooking oil, even those boxes of matches are never made in Malawi, yes those boxes, we are that pathetic, we believe in the goodness of foreign things.
For decades now we have been importing musicians, both good and bad musicians. Some will come and deliver; others only come and steal from the poor Malawians, all in the name of “An international artist” shame.
From the literary vantage point, lately we have been importing the Kansiime’s, the Mafikizolo’s and let them perform in our country’ magnificent venues, and our organizers can charge us up to “our country’s minimum wage” since these so-called foreign acts can only fly business class so this affects the damages, so we are made to believe.
On the other hand, our best Malawian artists can only use a bus on their way to perform in some school classroom in Zimbabwe or South Africa, not because they are not that good for bigger venues, NO! But all because we don’t support them here back home, we don’t give them a platform to learn and grow.
Anyway let me not waste much of your time reading some “nonsense” up there, All I wanted to say is that this issue of importing anything including comedians so they can come and make silly monkey jokes about us and our country, some jokes that are not even funny enough for us to laugh but we still laugh because it is an international comedian making the jokes and we have paid so much to laugh, those days will come to an end only if we support what the #M_Theatre_Team has started.
The M_Theatre guys are giving a platform to all comedians in Malawi to go and showcase their talents, if they are good enough they will be able to perform on a bigger show that is being organized. Isn’t this good news? Read the post.
Do I need to add more?
The First Audition: Whack Judges
You’ve no second chance to make the first impressions matter.
Oftentimes, most of us have ended up regretting for not having the most out of our first encounters. That is, unfortunately the feeling that most members of the audience who had graced this auspicious occasion muttered. In short, the show (the first audition), was a flop; not because of the acts but point on the judges.
According to poet and short story writer, Wilned Zoto Hara, the first audition of the show left a lot to be desired.
“So I arrived a bit late, found first 2 acts already performed (one of them was the eventual winner). I found Master of ceremony calling names of some guys who registered, but apparently some guys did not show up. That left 3 more acts. The acts were not as bad (should use that word).
What raised eyebrows first was when it was time to announce the judges, who were Prince, Nicholas Mbonela (che nkope) and another dude, when I asked around, only Mbonela seemed to have any history of that sort of comedy.
The judges’ comments puzzled even more, Tadja (one of acts) was criticized for making a disabled driver joke saying it was discriminatory, as well as a another joke which was described as obscene. These were just some of the comments which raised eye brows.
The worst came when Prince (the Chief judge) seemed not sure who had won despite the fact that judges met for over 10 minutes discussing the winner. Prince said “I think the winner for me is (I don’t remember the name)”. Like why should it be according to what he thinks? It was terrible, people started moving out.
But all in all, we need to commend the effort and they should just go back to the drawing board so that next time we have something better”, inputted Zoto.
The Second Audition: Fire!!
It is said, once beaten, twice shy. It seems they went back to their drawing board and mapped out another way. The next show that was scheduled for 24th June was fire. There were 5 acts and it all started around 2:30 pm.
The first to perform was a guy called Mbachi. He was calling himself a reverend. He was on average, not very funny, neither could he make you dose. The only thing that puzzled the audience was whether he was doing spoken comedy or action comedy. He had two jokes only, the second one was more like action than spoken. He was on average.
The second was called Musa Hill Rasta wachitonga. It will be a waste of time to beat around the bush. This one was the most boring. He had one long boring story that sounded funny only once. He was just story-telling and limited in the white man’s tongue. He tried to continue his boring story but the audience clapped hands for him; a sign to take a bow. His insistence on stage paid no dividends as boos headed in his direction. He couldn’t stand no more. He stepped out.
Then Arthur Mr Rodriguez stepped on the stage. He is blessed with a relatively bigger behind for an average male Malawian. This worked to his advantage as he vibrated it left and right, sending the audience into tears of laughter as they yelled for more of his act. This one was funny. Last time he was criticized by the judges for cracking a racist joke but the crowd wondered because such are jokes, people even joke about the Bible; the word of God. Arthur brought ecstatic airing the room. There’s laughter all over.
Mad Martian was the fourth guy. Mad was indeed crazy. He was the funniest among them all, though truth be told he should go back to school and learn more about the English alphabet but his English is not that bad. He cracked a joke after a joke and each of his jokes was sending people into deeper and deeper waters of laughter. Mad was the funniest and even the judges admitted. He carried the day. He was crowned the best comedian of the day.
The last one was a she-human. She received standing ovation as gender balance opened its face. Unfortunately, Monica Maya was not that humorous. She is a story teller and not a comedian as she tried to make us believe. She would crack a joke and laugh at it herself. In no time she started begging for hands to clap for her. The boo ‘boys’ couldn’t waste their time but clap her off the stage.
The Future: Let Us Offer Support
M Theatre has opened a calabash of opportunities for stand-up comedians in the country. To nurture this art, M Theatre has still taken the responsibility; the 1st of July is the day that had been blessed to make history.
M Theatre reminded Entertainment Malawi that the 1st of July is the World Comedy day. The day has just punctuated the will of M Theatre which was to conduct a comedy show within the next month. The venue of the show remains M Theatre located at Chichiri shopping mall in Blantyre as earlier alluded to.
Malawi has been promoting the Buy Malawi and support Malawi campaign, isn’t this a great opportunity to support our locally nurtured art? The three comedians selected during the auditions have shown those who attended that they can make people laugh 24 hours without running out of jokes. Be part of this great opportunity and support our own great talents.
It is said that this is just the beginning of unearthing and nurturing art at M Theatre as this comedy show will continue to the point that it will be happening each and every week in the near future.
M Theatre has shown its support and love for local talent. Let’s put all our hands on deck and join the journey that M Theatre has taken. Buy Malawi! Support Malawi!