Play: Nseyeeya nâ€™omukwano
Group: Bakayimbira Dramactors
Playwright: Charles Ssenkubuge
Director: Benon Kibuuka
Music: Pride Band
Showing: Pride Theatre
Reviewed by: Norman Katende
ROMANCE is what one would expect from Bakayimbiraâ€™s new play Nseyeeyaa nâ€™omukwano. And though there are many love scenes, they are employed to portray peopleâ€™s weakness in their social lives.
The story rotates around Ssekyewa (Andrew Benon Kibuuka), a bastard child whose greed for power induces him to murder and oppress people.
The play opens with Ssekyewa asking Seddume (Patrick Ssembusi) to help him kill an infant, whom the audience later learns is Princess Nakayima (Leyla Kalanzi)â€™s child.
Though the search for the child turns out futile, it is at least known that it is Ssekyewa who kidnapped and killed it.
In a flashback, Ssekyewaâ€™s violent nature is depicted in how he acquires the mantle â€“â€“ killing the king, chasing away the queen mother who was then pregnant and also trying to kill Nakayima.
The murder scenes incite hatred and tension.
The characters are properly selected to suit their roles
Ssekyewa is a cunning character, but his weakness lies in his inability to resist attractive women. He has been blessed with seductive language and because this, he succeeds in conquering as many women as possible.
In the presence of a woman, his light side surfaces. But though his enemies exploit his weakness in their plots to kill him, he somehow survives.
Like in the previous plays, Kibuuka plays his trademark murderous role to perfection.
He strikes when least expected and kills with ease.
But Nakalanziâ€™s potential is not fully exploited. She lacks the necessary confidence to compliment the role in the play, save for the time she pairs up with Pastor Kisaakye (Charles Ssenkubuge) to help her solve her woes.
The audience, however, misses Nakayimaâ€™s old self after assuming her new role as a princess (as we later learn). We cease to enjoy her graceful movements and her sweet words. This is after her reconciliation with her family.
Senkubuge highlights how easily a society can slide into confusion when power falls in the hands of the wrong characters â€“â€“ one without any qualifications and skills to hold power.
This is seen when Sedume is promoted from a palace cleaner to a Katikkiro overnight. But it is the duo â€“â€“ Mpinga (Wycliffe Luyombya) and Pide (Charles Bukenya) who help to ease the tension with their humour.
They make fun of everything. They trick the prince into marrying a pygmy, Ekimbutti (Annet Nagawa) and somehow manage to get away with it.
The humour, combined with the lively music from Bakayimbiraâ€™s band, help to make Nseyeeya nâ€™omukwano an entertaining play.
The traditional dances from the different regions in Uganda and marching costumes help to spice up the otherwise lengthy play.
However, Ssenkubugeâ€™s undoing is: he has too many themes in his plot that he fails to exploit fully, leaving the whole piece jumbled up.
The timing of the scenes is another aspect that somewhat lets down the play. Some scenes come so soon while others are delayed, which confuses the audience who are torn between which parts to follow and which to reject.
Some themes and songs also turn out inappropriate and probably not well thought of in advance. For instance, a character denouncing women oppression, which has not been portrayed on stage, or singing about something completely unrelated to the story.
Depicting the king seated on a mat raises questions and eyebrows. In the church scene, the playwright is at fault with the costumes. There is no need for all members of the congregation to dress in a uniform outfit unless it is the in-house choir.
The play is typical of Bakayimbiraâ€™s previous work â€“â€“ always with a good story but but lacking a fitting climax and too lengthy.