Checkmate wants an excessive make-over


Checkmate wants an excessive make-over

A scene from Footprints’ “Checkmate” at Kenya Cultural Centre July 31, 2022. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU | NMG

Checkmate is a strategic time period used within the recreation of chess to point the King’s being irredeemably cornered, attacked, and completed by any opponent of the King.

It may also be used as a metaphor to seek advice from anybody who’s attacked and having no technique of escape. Within the case of Howard Lumumba’s play, ‘Checkmate’, the one getting checkmated is Kingston (Jarad Itaro) though we don’t understand it till the top of the play.

And oh, how very lengthy it took to get to that time.

Characters like Wambugu (Prince Yaya), the owner who usually carries all of the keys, and notably one which opens the best way out of the Black and White property was excruciatingly gradual in answering neighbors who needed him to open that door.

In actual fact, he by no means had the nerve to inform them he didn’t have the important thing. However his beating across the bush bought him tossed off the roof by Kingston. No one appeared to care, not even the cop who’d come to satisfy the world MP.

Wambugu wasn’t alone repeating his strains and dragging out tales till it bought tedious. Attending to the purpose wasn’t one thing characters in Checkmate appeared prepared to do. However one can’t actually blame them.

We might additionally blame Howard Lumumba’s script and even his route or each since he’s answerable for each. In actual fact, Checkmate is the proper instance of the peril one can get into when one particular person is each playwright and director of a play.

On the one hand, we’d prefer to congratulate the author for giving us his or her script. Alternatively, when one particular person is each author and director, the hazard is that there will likely be nobody to edit the author and nobody to critique the director.

So, if the textual content wants trimming or the motion must be snappier or the dialogue extra easy, none of that’s more likely to happen. These had been issues we noticed in Checkmate.


A scene from Footprints’ “Checkmate” at Kenya Cultural Centre July 31, 2022. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU | NMG

It wasn’t an issue that many of the play happened as Kingston’s flashbacks. He’d been taking part in chess along with his daughter Princess () and was explaining the way it was essential for her to have a backup –a plan B in her life. In any other case, she may get right into a repair as he did. Then he shifted into flashback.

We discover ourselves within the Black and White slum the place neighbors are bemoaning the state of affairs in Kenya in the present day, particularly the joblessness and excessive price of residing. When he arrives on the scene, he’s handled like a mad man as a result of he’s barely loopy.

He has no cash and his daughter requires faculty charges asap since she’s already two weeks late. We study he may be one of many thieves who has been robbing grocery shops for meals.

So, it’s no shock to see him on the roof of the tallest constructing within the slum, getting ready to leap to his suicide because it appears to be Kingston’s solely manner out of experiencing a checkmate on his life.

The neighbors all have their very own preoccupations, however they arrive collectively to beg him to not bounce. Alternatively, when Wambugu arrives up there with him, the neighbors are so offended that he will not open the a method out of the slum, it looks like they may be able to lynch him in the event that they needed to likelihood.

What apparently saves Kingston from each suicide and going to jail is the world’s candidate for Member of Parliament who makes use of his scenario as a propaganda device and public relations trick. Kingston is handled like a charity case that she helps.

It’s her manner of illustrating to her constituents that she will be able to do it for one or many on the similar time. It’s meant to indicate that she cares for the poor and is ready to go all the best way to assist them out.

However then we come again to the current and uncover the MP by no means saved her promise to Kingston. He’s nonetheless caught and unemployed. What’s worse is that his spouse plans to go away him and take Princess together with her. So, in real-time, Kingston is caught and about to get checkmated. And that’s how the story ends.

Discuss a weak ending. The entire forged of neighbors had already walked off stage. Now it’s Kingston’s flip. However wait, there are such a lot of free ends that by no means get resolved. What is evident is that ‘Checkmate’ wants an excessive make-over earlier than it comes again on stage.

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