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Almasi presents The Homecoming Queen

Life & Style
Elizabeth Zaza Muchemwa

AS Almasi Collaborative Arts continue to introduce local audiences to works by African writers in the diaspora, on April 22 they present The Homecoming Queen, a staged reading of a play written by Ngozi Anyanwu, a Nigerian-American female writer.

A stage reading, also known as a staged reading, is a form of theatre without sets or full costumes. The actors, who read from scripts, may be seated, standing in fixed positions, or incorporate minimal stage movement. Dramatic literacy is considered a crucial component of powerful and excellent playmaking.

Directed by Zimbabwean theatre practitioner, film and television actor Charmaine Mujeri, The Homecoming Queen will be staged at 1430 hours at the Pavilion, Zimbabwe-German Society in Harare.

The synopsis of The Homecoming Queen play revolves around a bestselling novelist who returns to Nigeria to care for her ailing father, but before he dies, she must relearn the traditions she has long forgotten.

Having been absent for over a decade, she must collide with her culture, traumatic past, painful regrets and the deep love she thought she could never have.

Almasi’s associate artistic director, Elizabeth Zaza Muchemwa said The Homecoming Queen will feature new and experienced actors.

“We are excited to bring Anyanwu’s writing for the first time to the Zimbabwean public. Equally, we are looking forward to audiences interacting with Mujeri’s first directorial debut,” Muchemwa said.

“The staged reading of The Homecoming Queen, which is part of Almasi’s staged reading series provides us with an opportunity to present a play written by a Nigerian-American female writer and helmed by a Zimbabwean female director.”

Muchemwa said the staged readings were designed to advance dramatic literacy in the community.

“A noticed component needed in Zimbabwean dramatic arts development is the comprehension and in-depth analysis of excellent dramatic works that have come before,” Muchemwa explained.

“Without an awareness and understanding of some of the greatest dramatic works, the Zimbabwean dramatic artist cannot develop to the level of dramatic literacy necessary to create compelling, well structured, dramatic works.”

Muchemwa said their goal was to facilitate excellent new local works into existence, works that can compete on a global level and leave behind a Zimbabwean dramatic literature legacy.

“Staged readings also nurture dramaturgy which allows for the portrayal to be rich, resonant and specific to the placement of the play in time, space and moment in history,” she noted.

“Our readings are free and open to the public to encourage audience development and interaction with the community in the post-performance talk back sessions.”

The staged reading series has seen Almasi, the brainchild of Patience Tawengwa and veteran Hollywood actress, Danai Gurira, presenting several staged readings in Zimbabwe.

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