Nanzikambe Arts and German’s Theater Konstanz enact Fear Eats the Soul

Nanzikambe Arts has partnered German colleagues from Theater Konstanz to enact Fear Eats the Soul play to be performed to the Malawian audience from Tuesday this week.

Fear eats the soul

Aside staging the play, the two institutions last week held a series of theatrical and technical workshops.

Theater Konstanz staged the play in German and has translated into English for Malawian audience. German Federal Foreign Office is funding the guest performance in Malawi.

Fear Eats the Soul first stage performance was at Blantyre Sports Club on Tuesday 29th August before moving to the Great Hall of University of Malawi on 31sAugust. Lilongwe theatre lovers will watch the play at the Crossroads Hotel on 2nd September.

Nanzikambe Arts Managing Director, Chris Nditani said in collaboration with Theater Konstanz they have been carrying out a series of theatrical and technical workshops devoted to socially disadvantaged people while preparing for the play.

Fear Eats the Soul was directed by Johanna Schall, the granddaughter of famous writer and director Bertolt Brecht, at Theater Konstanz in February 2017. It is a stage adaptation of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s movie which was his international break through.

For the enactment of the play, Malawian actor, author and director Mphundu Mjumira was invited to play the lead role. He has been appearing in several projects at Theater Konstanz as a guest performer before.

After over 15 sold out shows in Germany the stage adaptation was revived in English in order to reverse the audience’s perspective and visit Mphundu Mjumira’s home.

The play tells a story of Mphundu and Emmi Kurowski, who meet for the first time in a pub in Germany – both trying to drown their sorrows differently. Mphundu’s request to dance ends up in the two spending the night together. An almost accidental romance is kindled between the 60-year-old widowed cleaning woman and the Malawian migrant worker who is more than ten years younger.

The presumably mismatched couple falls in love despite their age difference, find support in each other and discover how similar they are in their loneliness. Despite all the hostility of neighbors, work colleagues and relatives, they live their relationship confidently and publicly.

They abruptly decide to marry, appalling everyone around them. What follows is a bitter and noxious reaction over their relationship, revealing every character in their lives. Gossipy neighbors and shop vendors treat them with contempt.

Emmi is shunned by her co-workers and even her children, and Mphundu faces discrimination at every turn. The struggle for their shared happiness is threatened, not only by the discrimination from the people around them, but also by their own fears and doubts.

 The visit to Malawi by Theatre Konstanz is a spill-over benefit of the theatrical partnership that existed between Theater Konstanz of Germany and Nanzikambe Arts of Malawi from 2009 to 2012, during which time artists from both countries worked collaboratively to produce theatrical pieces such as The Messenger, Nkhata Bay – Inventing Percival and 3.10 The Aid Machine.

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