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Keamogetsi Molapong presents Black Coffee White Porridge

by Kelvin Chiringa

Leading writer and theatrical director, Keamogetsi Molapong, will open the curtains of the College of the Arts Theatrical School’s stage for a one woman play titled Black Coffee White Porridge on the 6th , 7th and 8th of December 2017

Played by versatile theatrical actress Mikiros //Garoes, the play centres on a married woman, Grace, who has to deal with the vagaries of a toxic relationship, and navigates through its headaches and tumultuous roller-coaster to spiritual closure.

The play is emotionally charged and explodes with the theme of domesticated gender based violence with the female-image at the centre of it as the victim.

It has all the traits of its writer, being pensive, digressive, and full of energy while it employs humour to reveal the lighter ironies of human suffering.

Molapong tells The Villager that //Garoes will be making her debut appearance, and he took the extra-mile to invite this publication for an exclusive teaser which provided ample time to converse with the actress.

“One man/woman plays have been around for as long as theater has been around,” she begins as she settles in the gallery ready to open up on many subject areas surrounding the play.

She says the challenge and trick with such acts lies in the ability for an actor/actress to split his or her personality into fragmented personas that tell the story all at once.

“Theatre is a reflection of life, so there are so many themes that it touches on,” she says as she gazes into space trying to put her thoughts together, “But right now, in my observation, there is a lot of theatre about women’s rights and domestic violence.”

With theatre dwelling on the urgency of the present, //Garoes submits that such occurrences have taken the Namibian society by storm and as such theatre finds itself as a language that tries to parrot unfolding realities.

“Sometimes, when you really want to get a message across, one of the most powerful things you can do, is to put it in a play or music. The point immediately comes across. Any one can have a story told but then people are visual, they want to see something that hits them on a more profound level.”

Back to the stage, //Garoes is a smooth talker, words rapidly flow out of her like a deluge as she merges speech with movement to create vigorous amounts of energy.

She has the ability to switch accents, flip the mood and twist the setting and still gathering the breath to maintain the flow of the play without being haphazard.

She accentuates humour and irony as she plays the jittery “side-chick” as much as she can handle the “woman-of-the-house” persona.

That agility matches with the sharpness in her eyes that organically connects with the audience to reinforce the didactic feel of the play.

But how much of a crowd is theater pulling in Namibia?

Here, she scratches her head and after a quick after-thought, explains, “It’s a lot better than it used to be. But it definitely needs a lot of support. Like a couple of years ago, people hardly attended theaters. People are actually more interested to go to theatres now.”

However, this is not as much as one would like to see, as the big screens seem to be overshadowing expressive creativity which in one way or the other, appears more conventional.

“If you thought the movie-going experience is fun, theater is a lot more fun,” she says, the lights in her eyes suddenly showing, “It is rawer and profound. You know when you watch a soccer game on a screen, it’s fun and everything but there is something about being at the stadium. That gives an energy that you really can’t get anywhere.”

Molapong says this play is part of a collaborative and experimental initiative called the Collaborative Theatre Project under the ambit of the College of the Arts (COTA Theatre School) and Township Productions.

“This project attempts to create a platform for artists and creators of theatre to create and stage productions through their own effort and desires. The project also aims to collaborate with partners who are in a position to provide technical and tactical advice and support to further enhance the broader vision of the Collaborative Theatre Project,” he says.

After many years of performing arts and theatre in particular have been facilitated on the premise of the availability of funds which has led to dependency, Molapong says, “Through this project and against the looming financial crises, we are aiming to challenge the current status quo and reverse the dependency syndrome on funds before creativity.”

//Garoes urges an intensified campaign of support on creative arts to stir the fire in potential artistes and polish the raw talent that sadly lies untapped.