Prevail Presents prides itself in presenting plays that are cerebral, a psychosomatic analysis, but for me this one in particular has much more.
Written by Fred Mbogo, directed and produced by Martin Kigondu, ‘They That Have Missing Marks Shall Not Graduate’ has a different, serious yet less sombre, tone in comparison to Prevail Presents previous shows; it is comedic.
Maina (Justin Mirichi), a farmer from Kimbimbi storms the campus offices demanding for his daughter’s missing marks, the only hurdle to her graduating. The frustrated Acting Head of Department, Dr Joseph Bironda (Justin Karunguru), is buried in an avalanche of complaints, now not only from Maina but also the department staff.
Mr Kiprong (Bilal Mwaura), a part-time lecturer at the university hasn’t been paid for three years, Dr Frieda Mbula (Angie Mwandanda) is frustrated by the lack of recognition of her intellect at campus and will eventually need Bironda’s signature for her resignation letter.
Above all else, Bironda is chasing a cheque because the university needs to clear his payment so that he can travel for a scholarly conference. Anything but an institution of higher learning, this public university is more of a crucible of festering frustrations.
It is also a satirical depiction of the kind of scenes definitely encountered in our universities- like the one just next door to Ukumbi Mdogo, from where ‘They That Have Missing Marks Shall Not Graduate’ premiered last Friday.
The play digs deep into the shady systems prevalent in institutions of higher learning, perhaps best embodied by Sally’s (Esther Kazungu) carefree attitude as, despite being a clerical staff, everyone, even Dr Bironda has to tolerate her and put up with her backtalk. She’s the quintessential government employee you will find at any Academic Registrar’s office, in other words. A rise in projection from Sally would have come in handy though.
Throughout we explore each character’s painstaking resilience in acquiring what they want in an unexpected humorous approach. Accents play a huge part, a technique which actors Justin Mirichi (Kikuyu) and Bilal Mwaura (Kalenjin) embodied masterfully.
A fast paced story of its kind, ‘They That Have Missing Marks Shall Not Graduate’ made a triumphant debut and after the show, garnered the kind of public demand that will see it be showcased again on Sunday, December 3, at the Kenya National Theatre, Ukumbi Mdogo.
Hurry now and grab your ticket because, they that have no tickets shall not enjoy!
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