June 6 – In the hours of dusk that see the sun sliding down from his day’s duty of shining down on us for another day, we had arrived at the Goeth Zentrum roof-top, Kamwokya; for a poetry performance that we were excited to attend. We had no idea at all that we were in for something that was even more than just a poetry show.
The show was staged by Peter Kagayi, Nabaggala, Daniel Omara and Otacco. They were accompanied by a percussionist, who animated their flowing words with powerful rhythms from different parts of Uganda. It definitely made the poetry even more captivating and breath-taking. In normal circumstances; you would expect just a poet who stands on the stage with a microphone performing, if they don’t recite their poems. This was nothing of that sort.
It was poetry that was blended with theatre; and this is what I believe made it one of the most memorable shows of this month. There were songs, dances, dialogues and monologues. The stage (not a small one) was filled up by just five performers.
The poetry that was presented mainly centered on the Ugandan society. These poems were from Peter Kagayi’s poetry collection entitled, THE HEADLINE THAT MORNING (2016). The poems are critical of the Ugandan society that is afflicted by several ailments among them being; dependency on developed countries (the west), neglecting, suffocating and suppressing of artistic creativity along several others. The views centered around entertaining and enlightening Ugandans about what their society is really like.
A panel discussion, moderated by Nuwamanya , was conducted right after the performance. The panelists were Byenkya (a slam poet), Manzi Henry (a political blogger) and Peter Kagayi (Man of the day!). They answered several questions and debated on several topics.
One of the topics was about the importance of the drama in the words and the drama around the words. From what was said, by Byenkya and Kagayi; we understand that the drama around the words is important because it is the drama around these words that will give power to the performance.
Power to persuade the audience and to elicit a particular feeling requires the drama around the words. Therefore, although a writer has got really good page poetry, without a good performance, they may kill the power of their poetry by a weak presentation. This and many other ideas were expressed by the panelists.
What can I say except this is that; one of the evenings that I spent very profitably? I didn’t even have to pay for it because it was free admission. What could have been better than that?
Written by Mugisha Polycarp
Photo Credit: Mugisha Polycarp