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Chasaya challenges stigma on sin through Sinners

Life & Style
He believes, like the majority of the Christian communities, that mortal sins make people fall short of divine favour of God and also notes that people sin through action, attitude, neglect and intent among other detectable ways.

PLAYWRIGHT, content creator and storyteller Patrick Chasaya, the creative behind the Daves Guzha Rooftop Promotions-produced theatrical play Sinners, says he loves telling authentic and unorthodox stories that people resonate with.

He believes, like the majority of the Christian communities, that mortal sins make people fall short of divine favour of God and also notes that people sin through action, attitude, neglect and intent among other detectable ways.

Chasaya explained to NewsDay Life & Style that his play, Sinners — the much adored and brain teasing play which is being showcased at the Theatre in the Park, Harare — psyches people to visualise the root cause of sin and challenge or avoid it in a retributive way and without attaching stigma.

“With Sinners (with a question mark) it is a direct question to the audience on how they should perceive people who are labelled names and perceived to be outcasts. It is also a clarion call for people to view people who are in such situations with a clear conscience because after all, we are all sinners and we fall short everyday. The issue of sexuality should also be handled delicately. The three women in the cast have all gone through a lot and they are victims of their sexuality. What is wrong is not their actions, but what has made them to be where they are,” Chasaya challenged.

Selling sexual services always sparks a lot of controversy in society, but the majority come to concur that it is a sign of society's moral decay. And in light of this, Chasaya said his imaginative work around Sinners was evolving and in most cases was tailor-made to suit the current immorality that needs to be challenged. The recently held International Conference on Aids and STIs in Africa (ICASA) saw a civic organisation highlighting the observance of human rights and provision of legal protection for sex workers as a mark for democracy.

The discourse during ICASA also exposed that women or men involved in prostitution are often targeted for sexual and physical abuse by the people who engage them. It also emerged that violence erupts when one fails to get value for the money, drugs, food or some other commodity rendered in exchange for sexual services.

“The future should not look bleak if the immoral being addressed in the play is taken into consideration. I visualise a scenario whereby people are not judged harshly because of what they do in society. I foresee a situation where women should not be victims of their sexuality.

“Sinners is an evolving story and this sequel is not the end of the story. The story will continue to develop and will address issues that are pertinent to society,” Chasaya explained.

Sociologist Erving Goffman (1963) defined stigma as a social attribute that is an individual discrediting another individual or a group. Stigma is typically regarded as having a negative impact on self-concept and identity formation.

“Though theatre plays have not been consistent in their showings, l believe the industry has the potential to attract huge audiences who have longed for consistency. With infinite topical issues around, content creators should use one of the effective ways to tell stories which is theatre. It’s real, time bound and exciting.

“I would recommend the re-introduction of theatre tours around Zimbabwe, consistency in theatre programming and critically the emergence of partnerships between theatre practitioners and corporates as well as development partners to ensure sustainability,” Chasaya said.

The play Sinners which was last showcased at the Theatre in The Park in 2011 returns with lots of improvements from when Standard People’s Masimba Biriwasha described it as skeletal because it lacked a precise context and setting.

“With its often raw humour and rough language, coupled with adult themes, the play is a raunchy strut-your-stuff performance with the all-female cast of Eunice Tava (Keresenzia), Charity Dlodlo (Chipo) and Gertrude Munhamo (Samantha) being bawdy, brazen and, sometimes, philosophical. While characterisation is a great strength of the play, the actors have a very limited scope of a play to function within.

“The play, which is rated, ‘No Under 18’, has its comical and provocative moments, some even bordering on the pornography, especially the rape scenes,” partly read a synopsis of the paly.

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