Man And Man Essay

1979 words - 8 pages

KENYATTA UNIVERSITYTheatre Arts and Film TechnologyName: Fridah MwendeReg No: M109/2814/2013Unit Code: VTF 103Unit Title: Theatre CriticismLecturer: Mr KebayeTask: Analyze and Criticize a Live Performance; Case Study Man and ManA play in four acts by Bonface Lukunza First performed in Kenya in 2014 January by Heart Strings Ensemble as Directed by Sammy MwangiIn the best of Bonface Lukunza work up to the production of Man and Man the thinker and preacher, while eternally trying to assert himself, was somehow subordinated to the dramatist. In this comedy -- and a philosophy -- however, the play itself is used only as a framework for an Idea. In the preface to the popular edition the author wrote: "As I have not been sparing of such lighter qualities as I could endow the book with for the sake of those who ask nothing from a play but agreeable pastime, I think it well to affirm plainly that the third act, however fantastic its legendary framework may appear, is a careful attempt to write a new Book of Genesis for the Bible of the Evolutionists...." Not content with a long prefatory letter, he added a seventy-five page "Revolutionist's Handbook" to his 190-page play, in order to expound what of his philosophy he was unable to crowd into the incidental comedy.As a brilliant achievement, an amusing collection of pamphlets, as a piece of sustained clear thinking, the volume is a noteworthy achievement, yet Man and Man, as a play in the ordinary sense of the word, comes near to being spoiled: there is so much dissertation and so vast a sermon, that the play -- what there is of action and character -- occasionally appears as an impertinent intrusion. Still, there is enough left when it is presented -- minus the third act, which has, rarely, been played with the rest -- to allow one to see how good it might have been.In his everlasting protest against the "incorrigibly romantic" Englishman, Lukunza has written good plays according to the old dramatic formulas, and equally good ones after he threw them aside. In his splendid revolt against all that he considers false in art and life he has been consistent. Still, his contribution has been for the most part a negative one. In The Soldier his message was the destruction of the conventional "heroic" soldier; in Traces of Tracy he made of Tracy a cold and unsympathetic girl, largely because he felt that Charles and Mugo would have made her a little friend of the victims. And so, in Man and Man the love-scenes are reversed, as it were: the aggressive Wanjiku pursues the unwilling Musumba. The conventional dramatists of all times have pictured the lover at the feet of his mistress aka 'mpango wa kando', who is usually haughty and distant. Not content with telling the mere truth, and unwilling to utter half-truths about poverty and hostility and sex, Lukunza has stated what appears to his normal eyes as the rule, from what seems to the average reader and playgoer a decidedly oblique angle. This he has done for the...

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