Danny Kajura’s Simple Minds.
Where are our Lee Harpers or J.D Salingers?
A fortnight ago I was honored to attend the Pantomime of the Kampala Amateur Dramatics society’s Treasure Island at the National Theatre. To purport that Robert Louis Stevenson would ever envision his riveting classic mould into an impeccable spectacle of the proverbial British humor in Uganda’s National theatre would be unfathomable ; more so with Writer Chris Carruthers seamless inclusion of new characters and omission of others without particularly punctuating the musicality of the British Pantomime . It was a night of quips and laughs and one well spent with one Colleen Bailey – a free lance writer and a film student from Alabama.
Unlike me who was attending a pantomime for the very first time , Colleen had attended in hundreds and stirred in dozens of them with a casting and directing role ; in fact as I speak now she is penning down the last act of an Opera ‘Through the Years of My Modern Alabama’ loosely based on Lee Harper and J.D Salinger’s characters in ‘To Kill the Mocking bird’ and ‘Catcher in the Rye’ respectively and when I asked her about her choice of adaptations , she simply replied , ‘Even an American with an IQ of less than two would be able to identify with the most stimulating and imaginative proselytized piece I have in mind.’ I was marveled by her response and rather than drag on with my interrogations , I buckled my mental faculties back to reflections of a ‘quasi reader’ I judged myself to be . Matter of fact , I had read these works before but hadn’t perceived them to be as subtle as Achebe’s succinct ‘Things fall apart’ Or, our very own Okot Pi’Bitek’s satirical tirades in the ‘Song of Lawino and Okol.’ Perhaps I am too dumb to excite a reader’s digest and to that effect, an encore inevitably had to be a close call. If any of the readers out there have painstakingly read these master pieces and made follow-ups to the movie adaptations and reviews ; not mentioning comments , you will realize that the aforementioned literary works have not only influenced the discourse of the modern American literature but also the character and popular culture of the United States . With its Southern setting in the époque of the 1930’s Great depression , Lee Harper’s sensibility ,good humored and humane writing on a society pitied against racial prejudices and social injustices of Southern life is portrayed through five year old Scout’s narrative that isn’t only emblematic of her unusual intelligence but also a tom boy character that has been uprightly modeled by her widowed father and Lawyer Atticus . Atticus who is a defense counsel for Tom Robinson (accused of raping a white woman) nurtures his daughter’s mind ,conscience and individual stance without relaying away the absurdities of social hypocrisies and the narrator’s reference to the Mocking bird as a motif of innocence and moral point (particularly the unjustly accused Tom Robinson) probably justifies the reason as to why the British librarians probably ranked it as a must read ahead of the Bible back in 2006 and, according to the Louisiana University Press has been cited as the precursor for the success of the civil rights movements in the 1960’s. If you are a lazy reader, I can access you guys with the academy award winning movie that starred the legendary Gregory Peck as Atticus.
While avid TNT Classic viewers recall the latter’s character - Captain Keith Mallory’s composed stature in the mission impossible destruction of a German fortress in epic World War II Drama ‘Guns of Navarone’ , Middle School and High School chaps continuously send letters and essays to his mail box as a tribute to his heroic portrayal of Atticus – a man who practices ethics of sympathy and rational...
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