The Sunday Mail
IN other formats of theatre, he is just an average actor but find him in the physical theatre space and he will shine like a diamond.
His name is Tafadzwa Bob Mutumbi.
After watching him perform in some productions in 2016 and 2017, I concluded that he was just a tall boring lad who turned to theatre because he could not get a job elsewhere.
However, things changed last year when I saw him performing at Theatre in The Park (TITP) in a production dubbed “Broken”. He was a beast on stage! He was exuding quality which I had not been exposed to previously when I watched him perform.
When I got an invitation to attend the premiere of “There is a Field” – a production he was directing, I rushed to TITP with overflowing expectancy. The director did not disappoint us on the rather nippy evening. The delivery was on point.
His stellar cast, which comprised of top drawer actors namely Nyaradzo Nhongonhema, Ehyara Mathazia and Stewart Sakarombe came to the party and delivered a unique theatre experience. The two new kids on the block – Ngoni Chikowore and Munashe Goromonzi were complemented by the senior experienced folks and proved that the future of theatre is not bleak in Zimbabwe – well at least in the acting section – the writing bit still needs some special attention.
The Sunday Mail Society spoke to the elated director after a standing ovation from the crowd and he admitted that indeed, physical theatre is his domain.
“I feel more comfortable and articulate myself better when I tell stories using the body as the primary source. I am interested in the marriage between an embodied poetic body and an embodied athletic voice,” said Mutumbi.
He said it took them 21 days to rehearse the piece, hence its flawlessness. However, he admitted that there were areas that needed to be perfected with regards to voice projection and expression of emotion when speaking in the borrowed, Queen’s language.
“In terms of voice, there were instances where some of the words were swallowed and the voices were not as athletic and articulate, but we are working on it. I guess the more we’ll do it, the more confident and immersive we’ll be in the words and the world.”
Not only was the act good, they also roped in a choreographer and musician – Brezhnev Guvheya – to do some live music for each scene.
“We are extremely grateful to Donkeysaddle Projects for their generous financial support. It went a long way in ensuring the smooth running of things. It made it possible to pay people,” he said.
Mutumbi added that they are now working on plans to tour the region with the production.
“We are in the process of planning our local and regional tours. We would like to travel with this piece. We want as many people as possible to see it and be moved, challenged and provoked by it. It’s a powerful story that has a huge capacity to move people to a healthy dialogue on healing and peace. It tells a story of what it means to be human.”