Uganda: Endless nights of romance and drama
Teenage experiences of infatuations while growing up told of a lot of conflict, especially in the letter where you would confess a lot happening to you as a result of feelings for ‘your sweetheart’. The Ebonies capitalise on such tales in their production, Love Itch, which has so far left audiences laughing at the different scenarios through which adults express love.
Playwright J. W. K. Ssembajwe’s idea in the play is that we can either morally or immorally express our love and he presents his ideas in a sarcastic manner.
He presents his love parody in the 12th episode of the Romantic Night series in which he mirrors a society where people, particularly the married and those in similar committed relationships, will want to have a little fun outside their seemingly dry and boring matrimonial confines.
There is a correspondence between Ssembajwe’s script and the campaigns in town that target the same circle of people, calling on them to get off the “sexual network.”
Henry, popular for his stage name Dr Bossa (real name Sam Bagenda) delivers Ssembajwe’s message with good character portrayal, depicting a potbellied man in his 40s dating the younger sister to his wife.
The youth in him comes alive as he anticipates his time with this cute, sexy girl. Ssembajwe, who is also the director for the play, makes sure that besides a telling dialogue, the acting is believable, with costumes that convey the message. In this case Henry is dressed casually smart and the audience has every reason to blame it on the girl he’s trying to seduce; she’s skimpily and provocatively dressed, and her language reveals she’s after all not all innocent.
The stage setting changes a couple of times to accommodate different stories. One is a kingdom where the sitting king and his lead kinsman are overcome with greed for power. The kinsman wants to unseat the king so he plots for the death of his queen. The hunt is on for new love for the king because he itches after the big loss. The episode seems to say love can be everything, anything or nothing all.
There is a heavy fusion of music in the entire production, largely songs that tell or exemplify situations as acted on stage. Love does not take the centre but the issues that play around it as a subject, so the jealousies, betrayal, moral decadence, disillusionment all mix in well.
Overall Ssembajwe maintains his cast for much of his productions, The Ebonies, who have been on stage for the last 34 years.
Title: Love Itch
Script writer: J. W. K. Ssembajjwe
Running time: Approximately 3 hours
Show times: 7pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday
By Edgar R. Batte, Daily Monitor
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