If you fancy teasing your artsy palate with fine stage drama, then the 2015 Kampala International Theatre Festival is your sort of indulgence. The second edition has lined up works from Iraq (ISIS hasn’t decimated the arts there just yet), Belgium (the arts aren’t o lockdown here either) and Kosovo (the arts definitely survived the ‘90s Balkan mayhem. Closer to home is new Ugandan work and fine stage offerings from the very prolific Kenyan dramatic arts scene.
Bayimba Cultural Foundation head Faisal Kiwewa says the festival aims to showcase work of risk-taking artistes with the overriding goal being to contribute to meaningful and engaging dialogue. “The festival is also a platform to develop professionalism among East African theatre practitioners while broadening access to playhouses, developing new audience and connect with their global theatre counterparts. The festival runs from Wednesday to Sunday November 25-29, 2015 at the National Theatre in Kampala. Tickets will cost UGX50,000 for a full festival pass and UGX20,000 for single productions. Below are the production synopses.
The Betrothal (Uganda). Saturday 6pm & Sunday 8.30pm.
A young woman whose other is struggling to care for her younger sister because the government is not providing the medical assistance for children to get their injections falls for a man deeply involved in the corruption within government, the same corruption that is causing her little sister not to get proper care.
Body Revolution (Iraq/ Belgium). Friday 5pm & Sunday 6.30pm.
In December 2010, a Tunisian street vendor set himself on fire resulting in a wave if widely reported (r)evolutions. What effects do these images have on performers with roots in the Middle East? How as an expat do you process the information that comes to you from those who stayed behind? How does the body react to violence and fear?
Forged in Fire (Uganda).
An experimental piece dealing with both political and personal issues that arose as young men were dragged into war and families torn apart. In the midst of this, a tour guide sarcastically takes a group of US tourists through a Safari in Uganda in which the relationship between a commander and his soldier is explored.
Grave Robber Services (Uganda). Thursday 7pm & Sunday 4.30pm
A thought-provoking piece that examines the great and horrible things that poverty and lack of employment can really force people to do in order to survive. The protagonist went to school but is unable to find a job anywhere so he convinces his friend who works in a funeral home to help him steal a coffin and gold from a deceased rich man in order to gain money and approval from family and friends.
Marriage Chronicles (Uganda). Friday 6pm
After 10 years of marital bliss, Maggie and John are plagued by infidelity problems. When medical tests prove that the fertility issues lie with John, the couple’s greatest challenge soon comes when Maggie insists that John undergoes experimental therapy. But she soon realizes that the treatment could have serious side effects for both their health and relationship.
Moi, Monsieur et Moi (Senegal). Wednesday, 8pm
The story of a little girl born in Senegal who, like many others and much like a puppet, has been given away to an aunt, a cousin, an uncle. It is the story of girls in Africa that are mistreated and abused by their parents, guardians, teachers and bosses. Through the eyes of a clown, the difficult story of a girl growing up into a woman is told transcending both suffering and laughter.
Room of Lost Names (Kenya). Friday 7pm & Saturday 9.30pm
“M” is murdered and finds herself in Purgatory. To escape Purgatory, she has a simple task; she must give the gods her name. But M’s violent murder by a powerful man and the subsequent cover-up means that M no longer has a name or knows her name. A vicious intentional and unintentional plot made up of rumours and innuendo has destroyed her name. To recover her name, M embarks on the painful journey of retracing the steps and circumstances that led to her death.
We Won’t Forget (Kenya) Thursday, 5.30pm.
A fusion of various forms of theatre including spoken word/ poetry, monologues, music, dance and fine art, the show focuses on terrorism and how it has recently plagued Kenya as a country. It reminds us that people lost their lives and their loved ones, and as much as we should move on and heal our wounds, we should not forget the lost and the shattered. It also urges us to be vigilant in this war against terror and to stop solely relying on the government for protection because at the end of it all, it is not the government that the enemy kills rather the innocent, ordinary unsuspecting citizens.
Waiting For Train (Kosovo) Saturday 8pm & Sunday 9.30pm.
A play without text; in the train station are two people waiting for the train. They are very different from each other but have the same intention to leave, tired of their country for not allowing them to fulfil their dream. But nothing proceeds according to plan.
Text: MOSES SERUGO (email@example.com)