Zimbabwe News

Haywire sheds light on mental health at ACCEL ZW theatre festival

“Haywire” a provocative play centred around mental health, recently drew audiences at the Jasen Mphepo Little Theatre during the 3-day ACCEL ZW theatre festival.

Created by Chipo Chikara-Nyoni and Tafadzwa Bob Mutumbi, and directed by Everson Ndlovu, the play looks
into the complexities of anxiety and depression, shedding light on the struggles faced by individuals dealing with these conditions.

With a talented cast, including Lisa Gutu, the production generated conversations about mental health.

In an interview with journalist Shingirai Manyengavana, Chipo Chikara-Nyoni, one of the creators, shared her unique perspective as a woman contributing to the exploration of mental health in “Haywire”.

She emphasized that her female energy and perspective brought depth to the main character, a man navigating the world while grappling with mental health issues.

Chipo’s involvement lent a nurturing and empathetic lens to the character’s journey, challenging societal expectations and fostering dialogue.

Chipo revealed a personal connection to the play’s themes, acknowledging that during the creative process, she reflected on her own experiences and the struggles of friends and family members.

This introspection highlighted the need for greater knowledge, understanding, and compassion surrounding mental health issues in society.

Motivated by the global surge in mental health challenges, Chipo, Tafadzwa, and Everson recognized the urgency to address these issues within the Zimbabwean context.

They observed how cultural, traditional, and religious factors, coupled with limited resources, created additional complexities in tackling mental health.

Drawing from their experiences abroad, the creative team aimed to initiate open conversations and promote local
understanding of mental health struggles.

Everson Ndlovu, the director of “Haywire”, expressed his belief in the power of theatre to convey the inexpressible. Through physicality and immersive storytelling, the production aimed to engage audiences deeply emotionally.

Everson emphasized that theatre serves as a mirror to society, allowing individuals to recognize familiar experiences and fostering conversations about mental health.

Tafadzwa Bob Mutumbi, a theatremaker and actor in the play, discussed his attraction to the character of Morris, who grapples with anxiety.

Tafadzwa underscored the importance of addressing mental health openly and breaking the stigma surrounding it, particularly in Zimbabwe, where discussions on this topic are often shrouded in spiritual beliefs.

Lisa Gutu, another talented performer in “Haywire” spoke about her role in portraying the main character’s inner thoughts.

She highlighted the fulfilment of being part of a project that initiates dialogue and brings awareness to mental health issues.

Lisa emphasized that the play was crucial in starting conversations and creating a movement toward a more understanding and empathetic society.

“Haywire” was amongst the many plays which were showcased at the Jasen Mphepo Little Theatre during the ACCEL ZW theatre festival organized by Savanna Trust.

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