‘Love on Trial’: Malawi’s Kenani gay story to be staged as play in London

‘Love on Trial’, a homosexuality short story written by Malawian Stanley Kenani, will be staged as a play in London next month.

The adoption comes after the story, which centres on a gay Malawian villager, was nominated for the Caine Award last year.

Kenani’s story is centred around a gay Malawi villager, Charles, and begins with a drunken raconteur telling of how he stumbled across Charles and another young man in flagrante delicto.

“The drunkard spreads the story at a price – a tot of kachasu, a popular drink in Malawi,” Kenani said. “The story attracts the attention of the authorities and they arrest Charles. He gives some embarrassing public interviews and eventually goes through a trial in a court of law and is convicted for 12 years in prison, with hard labour.”

According to England-based Bilimankhwe Arts group, which has adopted the short story, the adoption intertwines ‘Love on Trial’ with the arrest of the British singer George Michael for ‘lewd conduct’ in a Los Angeles public toilet in 1998.

Kenani:Bilimankhwe Arts group has adopted the short story

Bilimankhwe Arts artistic director Kate Stafford said the group is using the two stories to investigate global attitudes towards homosexuality.

Stafford said there will be a recorded material to be performed by Diana Phiri, a Malawian living in the United Kingdom.

“We have no immediate plans to bring it to Malawi but if we decide to develop it further, we would very much like to have it performed there [Malawi],” she is quoted as saying.

The play is being directed by Roe Lane, a holder of masters in text and performance from the University of London, but also studied at St Andrew’s International High school in Malawi’s commercial city Blantyre.

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