Archive for November, 2010

A day with…….The Sunflower Kids Club

November 22, 2010

Nurturing kids talent on a Christian foundation.

Satuarday (13-11-2010) saw me at Logos Christian School along Arboretum Drive, Nairobi by 9.00 a.m. I was ready to spend sometime with award-winning Sunflower Kids Club, the point being to understand exactly how the kids’ talents are nurtured.

The club, an arm of Balozi Productions Limited (an events management and marketing company) was established in 2004 to cater for talented boys and girls between ages 7 and 12. Club members meet every Satuarday at Logos Christian School from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. for training and rehearsals. Members, through their parents or guardians, pay a fixed amount per term to facilitate this.

Based on a Christian foundation, it is no wonder that the bible study class is the very first activity that takes place every Satuarday. Other activities include drama and performing arts like poetry, dancing, singing and acrobatics.

In the bible study class, the teacher, Cindy, picked out a passage from the bible which she discussed with the kids for proper understanding and interpretation. Thereafter, she handed them a word-search activity (based on the passage for the day) which they had to complete before the end of the one hour class. The kids are also assigned a bible verse to memorize at home.

The next class was the acrobatics class, which I found rather intriguing. Their teacher, Dickson, did a great job trying to handle movement, coordination and safety of over ten kids all by himself. Seeing these kids doing those jumps, balances, stretches and remembering the moves left me feeling challenged and wondering, ‘Can I even do this?’

Kids acrobatics

The Sunflower Kids acrobatics class

Seeing how this acrobatics class related to the bible-study one enhanced my understanding of the whole Christian foundation vision; in bible study, they are taught about the ‘cookie-crumbling’ whereby the virtue of hardwork and discipline is taught using bible verses and stories. Cindy, the bible study teacher, did pass by the class and reminded them about letting the ‘cookie crumble’ on noticing that some of them were getting distracted. Yes, these kinds of activities call for total-attention, something that is well-developed here (taking into consideration kids attention-spans).

While the acrobatics class was going on, there was also a singing class led by Colloe.

some of Sunflower Kids Club at Singing class

Colloe, who also sings in a choir, gave the kids lyrics to a new song they were learning and divided them into two groups for voice variation. They also discussed and settled-on the most ideal weekend (for all) to record some songs in the studio.

The next classes were poetry class and dance class which were going on simultaneously. At the poetry class, each of the young poets performed (with words and action) one piece each. Their teacher, Sarah, would then correct them and direct them on how to enhance each of their performances. They also had a piece they plan on performing together (like a choral-verse).

For those who prefer dance to poetry, the dance class by Dan was the place to get hyper-active. I loved watching how the kids interpreted the African dance moves. I was later informed that all of these projects lead to Sunflower Kids Club actual performances on stages/venues around the country-giving them the much needed professional stage to learn and grow.

What I loved about each of these classes is that they all were very interactive, allowing the kids to give their own opinions of certain moves and words. Friendship and values of teamwork are also cultivated in clubs like these. But the over-riding idea of nurturing kids talent from a young age is what we need more of.

Some of the clubs’ achievements include ‘The best children’s song of the year award’ at the Groove Awards 2008, rave reviews of their musical play ‘The Sunflower, the spider and the baby’ performed at the Kenya National Theatre in April 2007. The club also has an album to its name, ‘Mwanga’ which was launched in February 2006. They have also presented the play ’The Sunflower who couldn’t find the sun’ at the Village Market in December 2004.

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PLAY REVIEW: NO DINNER FOR SINNERS

November 1, 2010
The set at No dinner for sinners

No dinner for sinners

Title: No dinner for sinners; a hilarous comedy

Theatre Group: Festival For Creative Arts

Director: Mbeki Mwalimu

Producer: Abuto Eliud

Venue: Kenya National Theatre

Dates: 29-10-10 to 31-10-10

Cast: Derrick Amunga plays Jim, Ciku Mburu is Edna the cleaning lady Hellena Waithera is Helen, Veronica Waceka & Juma williams are the Nxumas and Ummul Rajab plays Terri, Jim’s secretary.

The Plot

No dinner for sinners is a play about Jim, a manager at an investment company. Jim is hosting one of the big bosses from South Africa William Nxuma and his wife Nancy at his Nairobi flat. The thing is, Mr. Nxuma is the kind of man who believes in high morals; word is that he recently fired a fellow employee for having a live-in girlfriend. Jim assumes that his  live-in girlfriend and model Helen, will pose as his wife. However, they have a major argument at breakfast and Helen walks out on him, for good-she says.

Jim needs to keep his job hence he must find a wife for dinner. He frantically begins to call up his old girlfriends, but all of them are unavailable. Terri, his devoted secretary (and an aspiring actress) passes by his house so he can sign some documents. Terri is so into Jim and would do anything for him. Jim takes this opportunity to ask her to ‘act’ as his wife. She agrees, well- until she remembers she has a dress rehearsal in the evening.

Having ran out of options, Jim hires Edna, the cleaning lady even though he is not quite sure whether they’ll be convincing enough as a couple. The Nxumas make it to his flat and soon drama begins to unfold right under their noses. All the three ladies who Jim had asked to be his wife changed their minds and turn up at his flat around the same time. How does he handle the situation?

The Characters

The play opens with Jim and Helen having breakfast and then having an argument that sees Helen move-out. At one point, I was beginning to wonder whether this really was a comedy. All this changed when Edna, played by Ciku Mburu, came into the picture. I could hear and feel the difference with the audience too. With a very heavy ‘local accent’, Edna was the most beloved of the characters. She was indeed funny in a way most Kenyans would relate to-what with her hair, outfit and language. Her hair looked like an old-fashioned not-very-well-done Afro and she was wearing a sundress and (take this….) multi-coloured socks. That really cracked us up! She’d even respond in those ukuyo-like ways ‘Eeh!!’.I recall this comment she made to Jim on having to act as his wife, “If we are going to act married, you’ll have to learn to do what I say.” A comment that led to a discussion with friends later which I hereby conclude, ‘The wife really is the ‘boss’ of the home’.

Derrick Amunga, Juma Williams & Veronica Waceke were also in character, so was Ummul Rajab (who was recently crowned Best Supporting Actress at Kalasha Awards for her part in Ndoto za Elibidi). Ummul plays Terri, a very bubbly character who brings out her attraction to her boss in a most comical way. I think I should say here that she’s got that blend of childish yet sexy..and the eye-glasses kinds helped with the professional aspect. And the outfits those girls wore were very revealing- not that we minded. Some of us are hot legs and butt visual seekers…hahaha!!

The Moments

Some of the most memorable (and catchy moments) from the play include

-Edna appearing in the sundress, coloured socks and weird hairstyle thinking that she looks like a ‘million-dollars!’

-Its interesting how Terri talks about ‘The naked dance’, a play  she’s part of.

-Terry suddenly appearing and announcing her love for Jim as he’s trying to explain why there are two ‘wives’ in his house. Worsening his already tarnished reputation.

-Edna going all out and deep into religious talk with Nxuma as Jim stares in horror.

-Helen hiding behind the sofa half-clothed and Jim having to say that she was the cleaning lady.

-The sound effect (of something exploding) at the end of the play. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was caught off-guard by that heavy sound signifying the reality of Murphy’s Law; everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

In Conclusion

For me, this play was proof of how we put ourselves into murky situations we’d have avoided in the first place. If you’ve got proverbial liars for friends, make sure they watch this the next time it shows. I however feel that if the characters got to use wittier remarks (with a local touch I must insist)  we would truly have applauded FCA for making it the comedy its supposed to be. But sadly, its not. I mean, if the audience is only laughing at Edna’s remarks and situations, what would you say?

I also felt that the sofas/ furniture (provided by Odds & Ends) was a bit restrictive. I’d have loved to see the movements and the socks more. As in, a lot of action was going on behind the sofas. Maybe opt for furniture a bit less bulky/ big so the audience can see more?

That aside, No dinner by sinners by FCA is a very entertaining play that’s worthy of your time!

Just my views……………………….


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