Saturday January 25 2014

Bringing your news on stage

A scene from one of the skits presented by the

A scene from one of the skits presented by the actors. COURTESY PHOTO. 

By Henry Mulindwa

Reading through the pages of a newspaper may give you your daily dose of news, albeit without the drama that four actors promise in a project dubbed Foursum. In planning since August, Foursum will artistically bring to life stories from various newspapers through drama.

The actors
The actors include Felix Bwanika, Simon Kivumbi, Rogers Williams Mpaata, Esther Komwero and Edwin Mukalazi, who is the narrator. According to Mpaata, the skits which are picked from headlines of different newspapers will cover different aspects of life. A similar project was first done by the group in 2012 during the Bayimba Festival under the guidance and supervision of Philip Luswata, the director of Theatre Factory.

“This is going to be our first independent project outside Theatre Factory, having got experience from the one we presented in 2012,” says Bwanika, another actor. To add a twist to the production, at the end of the show, the actors will be challenged to create an impromptu skit from the favourite story of someone from the audience. The group plans to have shows quarterly. The first show will be staged on January 31 at the National Theatre and tickets go for Shs20,000.

History buffs would have appreciated the mother-son collaboration of Grace Flavia Ibanda and Damien Munyiirwa on Reach Out and Touch, a warm-up dance popular during Father Damien Grimes’ days at Namasagali College.

Um Mbamfalalo was as sweet a pure listening experience as it was a tribute song to the late Prof Moses Sserwadda and Susan Bamutenda Olaka, who each mentored dancers; the former as a lecturer at Makerere’s Music, Dance and Drama department, the latter under the dance company Stepping Stone.

Drummers would have liked the drum-circle, which showcased Ugandan rhythms. Musicians stood up when House of Talent’s Sylvia Babirye partnered with Kerri Sloan, Kim Esther and Dana Butler on Sister Sledge’s We Are Family. Apologists for Uganda’s budding ballet concept would equally have loved Mariana Ranz’s collaborative piece with students from KBMDS.

Bridging the gap
Most rewarding was seeing in practice the connections that performing arts can foster. For one, it visibly blocked out the disparity between children from backgrounds as varied as KBMDS’ students to those from arts-education centres like Inmovement; Art for Social Change, Naggalabi Indigenous Theatre, Life in Africa, and Afrique Troupe, to those in regular schools like Nakasero Primary School

On his tap dance-and-Runyege dance-off with Victoria Huish and Krissy Rybicki, Uganda’s Denis Kasamba also showed Dance Your Rhythm is an avenue for globalising Uganda’s traditions. Uganda’s dance culture can only benefit from more such collaborations.