Original student play 'Bits and Pieces' centers on African myth
The School of Performing Arts presents “Bits and Pieces,”created by Misheck Mzmura, a third-year Master of Fine Arts student in theatre — directing and public dialogue. The show runs from Oct. 3-5 at 7 p.m. in Theatre 101 and is the second production of this play to be mounted this year.
The debut performance in April was created through a generation process called devising, in which Mzmura led the student actors and musicians through different reflections surrounding the body of rain-making myths present in Africa. The original troupe was composed of international students from Africa and Southeast Asia.
“I wanted to see, even myself, how I would be able to tell that story in a different context,” Mzmura said about the impetus for the play. “It’s very different if I tell this story in Africa. Most people would probably relate to that and understand it.”
Through their interaction with the material and the sharing of rain-making myths from Ghana, Malawi, and Nigeria, the students identified “common themes that are almost universal,” Mzmura said. One such theme was the idea of power and authority.
From this lens, Mzmura began looking to stories from the Western world that echoed these themes and found them in Shakespeare’s “Marullus in Julius Caesar” and from the Abrahamic traditions in the story of Yahweh casting Satan from heaven.
“I take my performances from different worlds. I think that the stories that are there should be able to be told in any area around the world, in the same way we see Western stories being told in Africa,” Mzmura said. While his intention is not to engage with the source material in the religious context, he has found that the idea of belief significantly impacts the expressions of authority within these stories.
The performances are free and open to the public. No tickets are required. Any questions regarding the performances can be directed to Mzmura.
Theatre 101 is an academic building with a high-tech black box performance space, located at 200 College Ave.
Visitors to the Blacksburg campus between 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Friday will need to display a parking permit, utilize the ParkMobile app, pay the daily charge for a pass, or pay for parking using an hourly meter. A range of parking options can be found online.
If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Susan Sanders prior to the event.