Danai Gurira play comes to Harare Thursday

Danai Gurira writes about her heritage in a new Glamour essay. (Christopher Smith / Associated Press)

Almasi Collaborative Arts will present a stage reading of United States-based  actress, Danai Gurira’s play “Familiar”, tomorrow evening at Old Mutual Theatre, Alliance Francaise.

Directed by Tafadzwa Bob Mutumbi, the staged reading will feature Jesesi Mungoshi, Munyaradzi Guramatunhu, Kevin Hanssen, Felex Mafumhe Mutasa, Chiedza Rwodzi, Marian Kunonga, Daniel Hargrove and Eyahra Mathazia.

“We are excited to bring Almasi executive artistic director, Danai Gurira’s latest play to the Zimbabwean public,” said Almasi director Elizabeth Muchemwa.

“Familiar” is a play about a Zimbabwean family living in the United States of America. Marvelous and Donald, Zimbabwean emigrants in Minnesota, are preparing for the marriage of their eldest daughter, Tendi.

They have gracefully blended Zimbabwean culture alongside their American culture, but their house is turned upside down when Marvelous’ sister comes from Zimbabwe to perform a very traditional wedding ceremony.

Tensions flare and identities clash as the family’s fabric slowly unweaves and they are forced to take a hard look at who they truly are.

The play will be staged as part of Almasi’s staged reading series.

Muchemwa said the series is part of her organisation’s work towards developing local theatre.

“The staged readings are designed to advance dramatic literacy in the community.  Dramatic literacy is a crucial component of powerful, excellent play making. A noticed component needed in Zimbabwean dramatic arts development is the comprehension and in-depth analysis of excellent dramatic works that have come before.

“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.

“Almasi’s goal is to facilitate excellent new Zimbabwean works into existence, works that can compete on a global level and leave behind a Zimbabwean dramatic literature legacy,” she said.

The organisers said the event will be for free.