Harare, March 20th 2016 | Gideon Jeph Wabvuta
I am a writer who works on a thousand things at the same time, up to the point that I write 4-5 plays at the same time (or rather I draft 5 plays and really focus on 1). So when I got the chance to present my latest work, family riots, at the Almasi writers’ dialogue I was thrilled. I had a testing ground for my new work.
The experience was quite good, as I was struggling to nail down the concrete plot line of my story. I knew my plot was full of holes, and I was desperate to plug them but I was struggling to find them. So after the play was read out the holes were exposed. I was desperately trying to note them down. I also got the grand opportunity to hear my play aloud, which quickly made me realize my dialogue was not exactly how I wanted it to sound. I quickly went back to it and re-wrote it.
This process has become indispensable for me, as I constantly need to test my work on a new group of people to get the feedback that can make my work better. So when I was then invited to be a moderator I jumped at the chance. I would not only get to hear new works being read out, but also contribute to the conversation. What I found most fascinating was that we had a wide variety of subjects ranging from fantasy plays that featured loud mouthed cannibalistic characters, to scantily dressed women flying to Dubai for business. The common ground became how all those stories would always be reverted back to Zimbabwe and the current predicament we are in. One conversation I found interesting was on the disparity that exists in Zimbabwe between the rich and the poor. This conversation had some of the audience members getting really emotional. To me, this spelled the power of the work that had been presented, as it had riled up emotions. The dialogue also brought different writers, college students, professional writers and first-time writers together, thereby giving a variety to what was presented.
I feel this is one event that needs to be grown with more and more being done to promote the writers, as it gives them the relevant support in creating their work. It may be said that scriptwriting can be a very lonely process but when one is exposed to such activities it then becomes a collaborative effort.