Mella Mella

Written by:

Gail Nyoka

Artist/Creator(s) Identify As:


Cast Size:

Roles For:

  • Men: 3
  • People of Colour: 6
  • Women: 3




African Myth
Magic Realism


60 min.

Year Written:



The King – Mella’s father – is dying, and the land dies with him. The only hope to save the King, end the drought, and restore prosperity to the people is to seek the help of the mysterious N’anga and the much-feared Python. This is not a quest for the faint of heart.

Mella Mella is a play that incorporates drum, dance, and puppetry, as well as myth and magic.


Mella: a girl about fourteen years old

Dikita and Chiboro: young warriors, members of the king’s guard

N’anga: a woman of indeterminate age; the storyteller, a magical figure

Python: played by the N’anga, but could also be played by another actor

Ganyambadzi: Advisor to the King

Old Woman

Musicians and puppeteers: can be played by the cast above or additional people

Villagers: can be played by cast, or additional people

First Produced:

Young People's Theatre, Toronto, 1999. Directed and dramaturged by Pierre Tetrault. Cast: Beche Ako, Joseph Ashong, Layah Davis, Joanne Dgand, Gneon Douho, Djolei Gogua, Martin David Peters. Costume design: Djolei Gogua. Shadow puppet design: Groupe Bassan and Glenn Davidson. Choreography: Beche Ako. Music Composition and Arrangement: Gneon Douho.


Mella Mella is available at through the CPO Website.

Published in Prepare to Embark: Six Theatrical Voyages for Young Audiences, edited by Shirley Barrie and Emil Sher, Playwrights Canada Press, 2002. Also available through Alexander Street Press.

For more information about the playwright and her work, visit the CWPO collection.

To view other works by this playwright, click here.


Villagers, musicians, and puppeteers may be additional to the core cast or played by the core cast.