It had been long since Harriet Anena had been on stage.
In fact, the last time she ever invited artisans to converge, she was performing a set of political erotica poems in a production titled I Bow for my Boobs. In a snap, a soft spoken and shy Anena came to life spitting lines that made us appreciate the fact that we rarely enjoy theatre with our mothers.
On Friday, the journalist-cum-poet was at it again but this time for a different cause. Anena was this year admitted into Colombia University for MFA Writing Course, as you could imagine though, tuition and all she may need to make this happen is above her weight.
Being an artist, a poet, she did what any poet would do, recite poetry. Though not like a choir singing a song after the other without focus – she got much of her published work and other yet to be produced and superimposed them into a fully fledged theatre show
Aptly titled Footprints of My Memory, the show explored Anena’s various styles of writing, but above it all, the topics that interest her most.
The production flips within topics of manhood and what is expected of it, love, the war in the north and politics, yet in more than one way, she tries to keep it all together.
Anena is the lead character of her production, but with support from a formidable double of Gladys Oyenbot and Joanna Amaru and a slew of guests that included Jackie Asiimwe, Nobert Mao, Robert Kabushenga and poet Peter Kagayi.
Directed by seasoned playwright Deborah Asiimwe, she helps bring life to unseen works of the author while handing her the power that her works wields.
Through imagery that is quite visible with her writing, she tells us of a man that is not afraid of being vulnerable, one that has refused to conform to what society refers to as manhood.
But the biggest topic shared was about the horror Northern Uganda went through at the height of Kony’s rebellion; the writer uses her wit to explain the trauma yet sticking to the culture that gives her an identity while at it.
“They harvested our children like millet fingers…” she says in one of the lines, yet she was only getting started, she later got her hands onto funders, the NGO man and the army, a protector of the North that seemed to turn into an enemy.
But it’s the cynicism of the director that got even the audience worried, then, she was talking about current affairs and her focus was on a man who planted lots of lies that have later grown into mountains.
“My interest was to bring much of her work onto the stage,” Asiimwe said during a talk back.
Main photo by Zahara Abdul
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