By Iminza Keboge
Published April 21, 2017
A Kenyan play in which a British diplomat is kidnapped in lawless Somalia begins its African tour in May 2017.
Written and directed by Silvia Cassini, the award-winning A Man Like You embarks on its Africa-wide tour at Braeburn Theatre in Nairobi on May 2 and 3 before proceeding to Harare International Festival of Arts in Zimbabwe on May 6 and 7 and then to South Africa’s Mother City, Cape Town, on May 10 and 11, 2017.
A Man Like You revolves around two idealistic headstrong men–Patrick North, British diplomat and hostage, and Abdi, his Somali kidnapper—who defend their worldviews in an intense exposé of extremism, politics and religion.
The windowless concrete room in Somalia where North is imprisoned is the setting for the poignant and thought-provoking conversations he has with his captor, Abdi, which raises questions about the nature of radicalisation, the flaws of differing cultures, and the similarities between them, as people.
The cell scene is intercut with a scene in North’s home in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, where Elizabeth, his wife, fights for his freedom while she dealing with his absence and the horrible reality that he may never return to her.
Soon after its premiere in Nairobi in 2016 and three-week run off Broadway in New York in USA, A Man Like You received seven nominations from Sanaa Theatre Awards in Nairobi out of which it won in the Best Actor and the Best Tragedy categories.
The staging of the play for its new tour is, however, different from the original, giving it not just a new look but a fresh feel as well.
“Each new production of this play should be a clean experience, not just for the audience but for everyone involved. I have no interest in doing the same thing twice; change is what keeps us relevant and growing,” Silvia Cassini says.