By Emmanuel Ssejjengo
Christmas time is usually a red affair. But this time round, many theatres will be painted yellow, courtesy of MTNâ€™s sponsorship of Afritalent, Diamonds Ensemble and Bakayimbira dramactors drama groups.
Afritalent at Bat Valley theatre will feature the Ensitaano drama. The popular TV drama has been adapted for the stage. It will be interesting to compare the two settings. Director Abbey Mukiibi, whose directorship has always been captivating, will be the man to watch. Ensitaano is about family wrangles. It befits this season when more time is dedicated to the family. It is also a commentary on the effect of money on society.
Actors include Mariam Ndagire, Patricko Mujuuka, Ruth Kalibala and John Segawa. Joy Matovu has just returned after a â€œfunnyâ€ stint in London. He comes back with a lot of information on the Nkuuba Kyeyos.
The play, Bakuntumye, revolves around a movement from the high dreams of making it big to the nightmares of the reality of survival of Ugandans in London.
On the theatre menu, it is perhaps the only play that has no relation with Christmas season. It is a three-hour play and has actors like Siasa Ssenkubuge, Benon Kibuuka, Wyclif Luyombya and Prossy Nassali Nababi.
Cooper Theatre at Cooper Complex will feature Diamonds Ensembleâ€™s Abameganyi. The play is about marauding false preachers, who take advantage of peopleâ€™s desperate situations. It dwells on the love for wealth that destroys the moral fabric.
The false pastor gets paid through destruction just like those who go underwater for wealth. Ashraf Ssemwogerereâ€™s morality play comes across with comical overtones.
For the New Year, Diamonds Ensemble will bring back Akalabba, a play about the evil of the death sentence and human rights.
There has been much hype about The Obsessionâ€™s play, Before Adam and Eve. A classical (perhaps only by Ugandan standards), the drama is set before the creation of man. It is structured around the struggle of man over the supernatural forces that control him, God and Satan. During their last production, comments such as â€œthe dances were goodâ€ and â€œthe girls are goodâ€ should have taken them back to the drawing board to concentrate more on the storyline. The play is on for four weekends.
The Ebonies will perform in Masaka at Patel Shamji hall. Their play, Akalibbobo, is a story of a man, who tries to be man enough; a man with good looks, lots of money and sexual prowess. Akalibbobo explores social relations and the joy of love. Christmas is a time for loving. Crowd favourite Sam Bagenda (Uncle Bbosa) acts the central role.
Ndere Centre at Kisasi is set to â€œcatch fire.â€ Ndere Troupe is not only about dancing, but also acting. The troupe will perform a pantomime, In the name of Jesus. The play is about Ugandaâ€™s experience in Christianity.
The drama is based on the Uganda martyrs and is characterised by serious moral questions. The martyrs resurrect on the eve of Christmas to see what they died for. Different answers are brought forward, but the judgment is left to the audience. In the name of Jesus is a synecdoche for our lives. We do everything in His name, especially as we celebrate his birthday.
The music is a trinity of tradition, modernity and church music. The setting is rural and urban as the costumes reflect.
Since drama makes more meaning depending on the timing, drama groups time Christmas season to act plays based on Christian morals.