Theatre Review: Sisters’

Director: Jenny Kandenge
Playwright: Jenny Kandenge
Assistant: Selina Situmba-Amuela
Cast: Nashawn Marenga, Lahja Haufiku, Monica Iyambo and Mikiros //Garoes
Rating: 2.5

I feel rather harsh giving this play two and half stars, but having seen Director Jenny Kandenge’s previous thriller plays ‘Ominous’ and ‘Scorned’ and ‘Daddy’s Girls’, I just have one thing to say; ‘Sisters’ does not thrill.

‘Sisters’ is a play about a brother, Jeffrey (Nashawn Marenga) and his sister, Selina (Lahja Haufiku) who have a very intimate situation happening. The story unfolds when Jeffery plans a dinner date for Joy (Monica Iyambo), who in turn has a plan with her sister, Alicia (Mikiros //Garoes) to avenge their sister, Amy’s death. Amy was dating Jeffrey. Selina is a possessive girl. There. That’s the play in a nutshell.

I don’t know what triggered my dissatisfaction with Kandenge’s latest psychological drama. Maybe it was the dialogue contribution by certain audience members, which was really uncalled for or maybe it was the pacing of the play. It felt like the actors had ‘places to be and shit to do’ the way they were rushing to finish the play. Or maybe it was just the play itself. It’s a mystery, which the play was not; as soon as the first couple of lines were delivered, I more or less had an idea for the ending.

The characters do come to life, but not entirely. Jeffrey is incest-loving bastard who just wants to have have a relationship that doesn’t involve his sister. Selina is a crazy girl who in her possessiveness is capable of murder. Joy is an egg or maybe just all bark and no bite. Alicia is a mastermind manipulator with no real plan of action or sense of purpose. It is evident that Kandenge worked well on her character development strategy, but a more deeper sense of character failed to emerge. The actors more often declaim their lines than bringing strength to the parts.

However, I was especially fond of Iyambo and Haufiku’s acting skills. Iyambo even tried to make digging blood from underneath a dead person work. Though it was in vain. I cringed so hard. The direction here should’ve been thought through.

For the lack of a strong, thrilling storyline, I feel Kandenge should have pushed her actors harder. However, the production quality was great. The set was minimal, yet effective. Needless to say, Kandenge’s play has emotional resonance but failed to come alive on stage.

‘Sisters’ will close today, 2 November at the National Theatre of Namibia. Tickets are N$80. N$50 for students and pensioners. Available at Computicket.

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