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When It Rains by JPR Ochieng’-Odero.  Published by Acacia Publishers, 2010. 64 pgs.  Reviewed by Oby Obyerodhyambo.

The symbolism of a tempest has been used in literature and drama from time immemorial.  Rain, especially heavy rain, is a metaphor for entrapment by forces beyond human control; being at the mercy of external and powerful menacing powers well beyond the capacity of mortals.  In the play King Lear by William Shakespeare the tempest that Lear finds himself exposed to when he has lost his crown to his scheming daughter symbolizes his helplessness.  In the case of JPR Ochieng’-Odero’s play, When It Rains the deluge acts not only as the malignant force that cripples the characters and forces them to huddle in the bar in which tragedy hounds them, but it ominously suggest their helplessness in the face of their plight.  Mzee Mzee repeats severally that …’whenever it rains ghouls and demons come to visit’ emphasizing the foreboding feeling of doom that glues the play together.  To add to the feeling of tragedy is the fact that this is a Friday and probably, though it is not mentioned, could have well been the thirteenth day of the month!  Friday is said to be a favorite day with all manner of nefarious characters.

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