Tuesday January 21 2014

Ebonies comically tackle impotence in Segwanga play

One of the scenes from the play. Sam Bagenda alias Dr Bbosa (second left) leads the cast.

One of the scenes from the play. Sam Bagenda alias Dr Bbosa (second left) leads the cast. PHOTOS BY EDGAR R. BATTE 


In the 1990s female artiste Titie Tabelle sang the song Segwanga which sought answers as to why the cock was not crowing. Its lyrics were heavily laced with sexual innuendos. It was simply about an impotent man and asking what use he was to his wife and marriage.

Playwright and director JWK Ssembajwe’s modified play titled London Segwanga deals with the same issue. It is the latest production by 35-year-old theatre outfit The Ebonies. Love, betrayal, disappointment, commitment, deceit, connivance, selfishness and cultural values are some of the main thematic concerns tackled in this play.

Sam Bagenda leads the cast in the role of Captain Duncan, a pilot, whose search of a marriage partner proves futile. He is dating four girls at the same time. In common talk he is a typical player. The girls like him because of his status and charming demeanour. He is puzzled because all these ladies prove to be suitable given their likeable individual qualities.

What is unknown to Captain Duncan’s friends, family and these ladies is that he is actually impotent. The plus for the audience is how he manages to give an excuse of not wanting to sleep with them before marriage.

And it is not as easy as ABC. At any one time these girls will cross his path or even both choose to visit him at the same time. He manages to “play” these girls thanks to his supportive house helps Fauziah Nakiboneka and Sarah Kisawuzi alias Nalweyiso (of Deception) who have to reorganise the house to suit the tastes and preferences of each of these girls.

In doing so, the audience is able to know about the character traits of each of these girls. This is one of Ssembajwe’s clever ways to grow and develop characters in the play. His other pluses are the stage setting which portrays largely a beautiful and lavish living room of Captain Duncan and then the costumes which suit the characters. The doctors dress appropriately and so do lawyers and dancers among other roles.

Love is the main theme here which he develops well using supporting themes like betrayal, moral decadence, kindness and callousness in the four-hour play. He uses styles like asides to let the audience in on what these characters are thinking privately, and in so doing providing moments of comic relief.

London Segwanga continues showing at Theatre La Bonita on Saturdays and Sundays at 7pm. It is a play you would want to watch to allow you into a woman’s and man’s mind and to learn and get ideas on love and what it can be about.

If you are to watch
Title: London Segwanga.
Written by: JWK Ssembajjwe.
Starring: The entire Ebonies cast.
Venue: Theatre La Bonita.
Showtimes: 7pm, every Saturday and Sunday.
Running time: Four hours.
Entry fees: Shs25,000 for ordinary seats and Shs30,000 for VIP seats.