Is Uganda ready for Street Theater performances?

– Posted in: General

My mind spoke back calmly ”it is Uganda’s first time too” when their facilitator Warner Van Wely whispered to me “this is their first time”

IPS building commonly known as Jubilee insurance building is a stress free place as people walk by freely. Clad in casual clothes, yellow stockings and gloves, the first team crawled out of their hiding place, they made all kinds of movements. They looked up to the sky, following something imaginary. They were a team of five with a leader who guided them in these coordinated movements. They lay on the flow, kissed a pole; all this was done with rhythm and energy.

Street theater in Uganda“Bano bali nkujjaga yawwa?” (What drugs are these people taking) muttered a passerby …rather amused. Cars slowed down as people tried to figure out what was going on.
Kampala wondered what was happening.

“If people will not come to theaters to watch the plays, we shall bring the drama close to them. And we all know it as Street Theatre” commented Michael Wawuyo, The facilitator of the Street Theatre performance. Ugandans are rather humble people as they simply “smile” when tickled.
Last Friday, 19th march they stood in shock and amazement.

“What we want is a reaction, it doesn’t matter what kind of reaction” said Andre Dienske, the Street Theatre workshop facilitator.

Boda boda cyclists converged and happily paid attention. ”abo bakola advert” (those people are doing an advert) one confidently noted. The others laughed at him saying there are no cameras so he was just foolish.

Street theater in UgandaAfter an hour of performing these brilliant acts, the team started to make way back to their shelter and the second team got set to also pull off their act. The second group brought even more energy to the street as the run across the street, and engaging with the audience.
Unlike the first team, their movements were not as coordinated as they did not stick together.
They each did their own thing but still managed to keep the story in mind up. The first team then started a song; they coordinated the voices well even if the lyrics were best known to them alone.
Faisal Kiwewa simply smiled followed the teams and tried to understand the stories they were telling. He is the director at Bayimba Cultural Foundation.

The performers then slowly descended to their hideout. When I asked Rehema Nanfuka about her performance; she said it was engaging, entertaining form the beginning to the end. Albert Ssempeke Bisaso also commented that it was tough and that they had injuries.

“It is mind boggling, there is a thin line between madness and reality” said Michel Wawuyo smiling. Together with the audience, organizers and performers, I agree, ”Uganda is ready for Street Theater’’

Elizabeth Kemigisha

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Martin Vansteenkiste April 28, 2011, 2:03 pm

"It is the duty of all artists to show what they have in mind. One never knows whether an audience is ready or not. It's only by expressing yourself, that at least, you give the audience the possibility to choose."
Martin Vansteenkiste