Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
EXPLICIT sex scenes, no under 18 rating and shock value is what people experienced at the Bulawayo Theatre on Thursday evening during the play, “Behind Closed Doors” where comedian Babongile Sikhonjwa was the main actor.
As a precursor to the play, its director, who is also Amakhosi’s director of Theatre Productions, Thulani Mbambo and Sikhonjwa, had promised some explicit content on stage. And they delivered as the near-capacity crowd seemed to have rushed to the Bulawayo Theatre to watch explicit scenes on stage.
As with the title of the play, the story follows the lives of Nkosi (Sikhonjwa), his wife Theresa (Nomvuyiso Mpofu) and Nyaradzo the maid (Farai Magada). The whole play is centred in Nkosi and Theresa’s bedroom.
Nkosi has lost his job and is having problems in his marriage. According to Nkosi, Theresa, who is now earning more money, is disrespecting him as the man of the house. Even their sex life, which was graphically portrayed, is no longer satisfying as Nkosi cannot please Theresa in bed.
To try and fix this, Nkosi turns to his doctor friend Jimmy for help and he assures him that he is fine, but is just suffering from anxiety.
Theresa on the other hand, turns to a sex toy to please herself. However, Nkosi stumbles on her “toy” in her handbag and he reacts with outrage, hurt and spits venom.
This scene in particular sparked debate among men during and after the play as they asked each other how they would react upon finding their wives in possession of such.
Some said they would be outraged, while others said they would be devastated as this pokes fun at their masculinity.
While these debates were taking place, on stage, Nkosi was looking devastated and confused.
Another talking point was Nkosi’s illicit sexual relationship with Nyaradzo, the maid.
As with what happens in households, these moments of pleasure and passion happen when the madam is away and are always short-lived. With Nyaradzo sleeping with the man of the house, she regards Theresa as less of a human being as she believes she can take over her place and become the madam of the house.
As with such affairs, after sometime, the wife finds out what Theresa did. Predictably, is was livid and chases Nyaradzo around the bedroom, trying to beat her up. In all this, Nkosi played mediator.
However, a twist comes about towards the end of the play where Nyaradzo reveals that Theresa is having an affair with Nkosi’s doctor and friend, Jimmy.
Here, another contentious issue comes to the fore: If women cannot find affection and satisfaction in bed at home, they will look for it out there from someone.
That someone is most probably close to their husband, be it their friend, cousin, brother or workmate. There have been many stories of such scenarios playing out in society reported in the media.
For his part in the play, Sikhonjwa said he was happy to be on stage after 27 years.
“I haven’t been on stage since 1991. It was a very great experience. It pushed me as an artiste and showed that I can be disciplined on and off stage as I managed to attend all the rehearsals,” said Sikhonjwa.
“I’ve approached many playwrights telling them about my desire to be on stage and it was great that Thulani Mbambo took me up on the offer.”
He said with the play, he wanted people to see men differently.
“These days some women are the ones wearing the pants in the home because men have lost their jobs or women are earning more than their husbands.
“That’s a fact. Some men now feel emasculated and some women become boastful and abusive in the home.
“The scenes and the storyline show what happens when infidelity enters a home and how many people are hurt,” said Sikhonjwa.
He said the issue of sex toys being used by women in Zimbabwe was something that was not being discussed openly.
“The topic of sex toys being used by women has not been explored in the Zimbabwean context. It’s just spoken about in hushed tones and through this play, we were hoping to bring it out in the open because some women are using these things.”
Also in attendance was Sikhonjwa’s father who got to see his son perform jaw dropping R-rated sex scenes with two different women.