Preparations for the inaugural Ubumuntu Arts festival are on, full gear. Different groups have arrived and are earnestly rehearsing their powerful pieces to ensure that they are perfect for the audience.
One thing that is striking about all the performances is how they have brought people from different cultures together to work collaboratively on their performances. They sit together, work together, laugh and cry together as one, as humanity.
You cannot afford to miss any of the action!
From Sri Lanka:
Performance Group: Stages Theatre Group
Performance Piece: Dear Children
Dear Children is a collaborative journey between the Sri Lanka theatre group named Stages and Mashirika theatre group. The piece is not scripted but has grown from a concept and been built up through an exchange of stories based on real life experiences – what is known as devised theatre.
The name of the performance is inspired by how the concept for the piece came to be; Ruwanthie De Chickera, the founder and director of Stages theatre group conducted interviews with various Sri Lankan citizens over the age of 80. The same was done here in Rwanda by Mashrika. From these interviews the teams have been able to collaboratively put the stories from the senior citizens together to form a story that expounds on the history of both cultures.
A journey through the ages as seen through the eyes of those who have lived through different regimes.
Stages theatre Group hopes that from their performance the audience (particularly those of the younger generation) will stop and think on the stories from their elders and learn from their experiences.
For more on Stages Theater Group visit www.stages.lk.
Performance Group: Theatre Factory in conjunction with Mashirika
Performance Piece: Mine Enemy Child
This captivating and provocative piece has been scripted by Philip Luswata of Theatre Factory, Uganda. He says that his inspiration for the piece came about from a discussion he had with Hope Azeda of Mashirika on how men use rape as a weapon against women.
The all female cast consists of ladies from Uganda and Rwanda who have come together to share their experiences and encounters with sexual harassment and how this has affected them.
Philip says that he felt that an all female cast would better depict the plight of women who have gone through the horrifying ordeal of rape. He also says that most of the arts in East Africa today is mainly focused on men and men’s issues. Not much has been done for women by women. He therefore hopes that this piece will be the start of the journey in revolutionizing women in the arts.
This piece is sure to be a conversation starter. Philip’s hope is that it will have the audience discuss the feelings that the piece evokes in them and particularly the men to realize how vulnerable women are and that they need to stand up and protect them and not harass them; physically or psychologically.
For more on Theatre Factory visit www.facebook.com/pages/Theatre-Factory-Uganda.
Performance Piece: Desperate to Fight
This piece is the brain child of Meaza Worku a lady from Ethiopia. Philip Luswata of Uganda had the opportunity to meet her and work on the piece through the Sundance Institute East Africa. They had the opportunity to present this piece in America in form of a workshop.
Unfortunately, Meaza was not able to make it to the festival but felt that this piece would be a perfect fit for it. Hence, Philip Luswata will be performing the piece alongside Gladys Oyenbot from Uganda.
The theme of this two person cast piece is marriage. Not only is it very insightful and thought provoking but also humorous. The characters depict different couples and different marriage situations in all truth. Everyone in the audience that is a husband or a wife will be able to identify with the characters and the different situations they face. Husbands and wives will know that in the world over, they are not alone in whatever circumstances their family life may be in.
For more on Meaza and Desperate to fight visit: http://www.tadias.com/03/09/2012/sundance-institute-east-africa-presents-reading-by-ethiopian-playwright-in-new-york/
Performance Group: Rebecca Davis Dance Company/ Mind Leaps
Performance Piece: Antigone
Antigone is an original ancient Greek tragedy by Sophocles written in or before 441 BC. The piece exposes the dangers of an absolute ruler or tyrant.
For the Ubumuntu Arts Festival, this captivating story will be told by Nicole Corea and Cassidy Giordano. Their moves are fluid and graceful as they paint a picture of the story through dance.
Nicole says that this piece speaks the message of humanity, it’s about oneness. We’re all the same and we need not to be careful about what we allow to divide us.
For more on Rebecca Davis Dance Company visit: www.mindleaps.org