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All That (African) Jazz

The King’s Jester

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Lannas outside Quay Arts where the play will be staged in the UK

I’ve recently had the opportunity to preview a forth coming satirical Musical Comedy that is being produced by Zimbabwe’s four Musical heavy weights; Michael Lannas, Kelly Rusike, Fungai Malianga and Peter Muparutsa. The Play is entitled “The King’s Jester” and it uses satire, humour, irony and exaggeration to ridicule, reveal and criticise bad politics.

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The King's Jester

Written by Michael Lannas it is Comedy that pushes the boundaries. It is provocative and spares no-one; himself included. The format is the comedy norm of “Laugh at yourself and others laugh with you”. So the Play is set in the fictional Republic of Chilapalapa Land; which also has a King. I know, Republics are not supposed to have Kings but the irony is that political categories are no longer mutually exclusive. This Republic also grows bananas. The Play explores the idiosyncrasies of political clichés like Communism “You had two cows the government took both and now they send you a bottle of milk once a month if you walk the party line”. As Lannas says “Anybody who enjoys being in Parliament probably needs psychiatric help”.

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Lannas with Ian Davison, the Technical Director of Quay Arts

It also features some truly amazing original music by Michael, Peter, Kelly and Fungai who have singing as well as acting roles in the Play. With these four individuals, who all process super natural confidence, one could almost believe that they can persuade Black Africa to march to the beat of their drum. In fact, if all four called one night around midnight and said the sun was shining brightly, we would have to look out of the window to check. With all media eyes on the Play, the word is spreading like flu. One can almost feel the ground shifting and sense the implications of this Play.

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Lannas with Pauline Till, the Co-Producer

Pan Africanism is now less a solid political platform than a basket of different competing ideas; separatism, Afro-centrism, Islamism, and revolutionary socialism. There is confusion about what it stands for, but what it is against is clear as day. One day the don’t-knows will get in, and then where will we be? With these four, Music is their gift. You cannot decide to drop Music and go into Activism. You cannot allow the Political side to override the Music side. However, love, which does not pit itself against suffering, oppression and humiliation, is sloppy and irrelevant.

They make it perfectly clear that they are sickened by contemporary society, but it is not their role to tell people what to do, instead, they use their Musical abilities like a seismograph to record the intensity of feelings, the violence, that is so prevalent now. Politics has changed so much that the only safe pleasure for a Parliamentarian is a bag of boiled sweets. What about Magna Carta? Did she die in vain? Their motto is “Distrust of Authority should be the first civic duty”. Who says Politics cannot be funny? Too bad all the people who know how to run the Country are busy driving taxis and playing in Bands. THE KING’S JESTER 50 per cent genius, 50 per cent insanity.

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Michael: A reflective moment

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About Editor

Constance van Niekerk is a South African-based Zimbabwean-born creative writer, poet, music lover, spoken word artist, freelance writer, blogger and educator. She has contributed to several anthologies and published her own collection, Echoes of My Heart: A Poetry Collection available for purchase on all Amazon Stores Worldwide. She is also Editor at ZimOnlineNews. Follow her on Twitter : @convanniekerk Connect with her on Facebook and Linkedin.

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Echoes of My Heart: A Poetry Collection by Constance van Niekerk

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