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transformed into scalding drama
"Kill Me Quick"
By Margaretta wa Gacheru

twice winner of the Kenyatta Prize: for Literature, has
transformed one of his award winner,
Kill Me Quick from a novel into
satiric, witty, and scalding drama. In so doing Mwangi has again made an
important contribution to Kenyan literature and culture.

This time it is to what has been termed the "national
theatre movement." Mwangi writes pointedly about contemporary Kenya,
about most of the most pressing and stirring social an£ local issues which
confront the country today. From the wealthy ex-patriate landowner who
still cub his workers ' 'boys'' to the waste and wanton crimes which come
out of sheer boredom and, poverty, to so many associated' dichotomies
between the propertied rich and the disenfranchised poor.

G.G. Githere, the director of the play has picked up on Meja’s spirit as
have all of the Kenyan cast. All are eager to make the production a box-
office breaker. Many simply believe in what the playwright has to say.

For a number of the cast members, the issues of unemployment, cultural
and economic oppression, and the struggle for survival and sustained
dignity, have immediate significance. They have been real life' problems for
some of them.

This kind of identification of so many of the gutsiest, gritty social problems
is what will very likely bring Kill Me Quick instant success. Mwangi himself
has gone to the heart of many people's perceived problems:

Their poverty and all the other effects which derive from being in the ranks
of the unemployed.

The two main characters, Meja and Maina, played by
Edwin Nyutho and
Tom Mwangi, defy the colonial myth that the poor are lazy and dumb.
Well-equipped with all the intellect and academic credentials, their energetic
efforts in seeking employment are all for nought. What ensures is a sad,
but telling social commentary.

In real life, Nyutho and Mwangi, like so many of the other cast members,
are also eager employment seekers, especially when it has come to the
stage. Nyutho has performed in de Graft's
Muntu, Watene's Kimathi, and
Rythm of Violence just to name a few. While Tom Mwangi has been in
The Lion and the Jewel by Soyinka, Desperate Hours and Muntu. But
these two are not exceptions. The cast is largely made up of well-seasoned

The one challenge I have with the overall production is actually with the
writer, Meja Mwangi himself. With all his creative ability and penetrating
observations and insights into the Kenyan scene; still his final
Interpretation of his social reality is desperate, dead-ended, and bleak.

Without the understanding of these young people's potential for changing
society and for having a transforming influence in history, Mwangi seems
to be an "exception" in his own way — he himself is able to creatively
change his own production, the novel, into theatre. He loses the
opportunity of Standing not as an exception but as an example of the
historical rule of the continuity of social change
G.G. Githere - Director KMQ
Program Kill Me Quick
Martin Okello - Maina
Tom Mwangi - Razor
Edwin Nyutho - Meja
Kill Me Quick Program
G.G. Githere - Director Kill Me Quick
Tom Mwangi _ Razor
Jeanne Kimani - Sarah
Martin Okello - Maina
Edwin Nyutho - Meja
174 pgs
Kill Me Quick, Meja Mwangi, Nairobi, Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta Award.