The title was curious and caused many on social media to pay attention.
Not being new to the poetry scene, ‘The Man-You Script’ was the twelfth show that the Lantern Meet of Poets was putting on at the National Theatre.
In the past, they have been known for their thought-provoking and social-conscious poetry; so, when they announced they were handling the subject of masculinity, many were intrigued and eager to see how it would be handled.
The show started at exactly 7pm as advertised, much to the pleasant shock of many. People were still arriving even an hour after the show had begun. The stage setting was minimalist and edgy, employing a theatrical method called choreo-poetry and mixing elements of sound, lighting and acting to tell the story without interpreting it for the audience; instead, they invited the audience to use imagination and connect the words and the visuals to conjure meanings of their own as was the vision of the show director, Sanyu Aganza Kisaka
The show started off with Waste of Semen, a man’s rant to his son about his seeming lack of ambition and achievement. It was recited by seasoned performer and one of the older members of the Lantern Meet of Poets, Daniel Mutembesa and written by Patrick Massa.
The poems in the first segment seemed to dwell on the negative aspects of men and had majority female performers, with the exception of the opening poem, Every Man Wants It, which was written by Blaise Muyeye who had his debut on the Lantern Meet stage in this particular production.
The poem Male Functioning, in the second segment, told the fate of a man programmed by a woman to fit her own purposes. It drew a strong reaction from the crowd; more for the performer’s theatrics than the message and sent many into fits of laughter.
However, Solomon Manzi’s Nay I Do Not Come To Love You performed by Jason Ntaro drew applause from the men but left the women pondering these strong lines from an unapologetic male chauvinist:
“Nay- I come not to sing songs of love,
My roar is fierce,
My rage, a terrible thing!
Come now – Woman – run;
Run for your life; for your children’s;
For I am not your prince,
I come not to slay the dragon
Behold – I am the dragon!”
The show was crowned off with When I Grow Up by seven-year-old Tandeka.
Tandeka is not new to the Lantern Meet stage; he featured as a stage prop in the January recital, as a poet performed What Shall We Name This Child.
Everyone who attended the show walked away with a pre-recorded audio anthology of the production’s poetry and it was the first time this method of publication was employed by the group.