Award-winning poet Nick Makoha brings the world of Idi Amin’s regime to Ovalhouse, through his own “dark” personal story of when his mother smuggled him from Uganda on an overnight bus. Starting in 1971 and marking a turbulent time in the Amin era until 1979, the play directed by Roy Alexander Weise uses
sketches, and poetry for this powerful retelling of exile, migration and displacement. This is a layered production “a poem of serious reflection”.
Lead actors Akiya Henry and Michael Balogun jump from character to character performing with an intoxicating exactness that makes you feel that you are in “the dark” with them on the roads of #Uganda. Henry’s male persona as the spitting grunting checkpoint soldier and the “child” Makoha played by Balogun are one of many that the two skillfully switch between, married in by Balogun reciting poetry to the audience. Memorable lines like “those in charge are not fools they let others die for their country” and scenes like the account with the child soldier give a vivid insight into a war-torn Uganda and the tragedy and suffering the 8 years of the “Liberation” war brought to its people.
Set designer Rajha Shakiry provides the perfect setting with dim lights and a bus, a swaying bus rack creating a sense of movement, is packed with luggage, you can almost imagine the people on a rammed bus, like sardines in a tin. Reminiscent of hot dusty nights in Africa where you go out to get street food and drink the local wine. The ochre road and patchy turf is believable and you can almost smell the warm air. When Makota finally arrives at Heathrow he is probed by immigration officials, reminding us that “there is no such thing as the place you come from” or is there? Roy Alexander Weise has waved his magic wand again. A shame it has such a short run at Ovalhouse so I would suggest getting your tickets now. Image: Helen Murray
The Dark runs until 1st Dec 2018.
Tuesday- Saturday. No shows on Mondays or Sundays. There will be a 1pm performance on Weds 28 November. Tickets: FULL: £15 CONCESSION: £10 UNDER 26: £9. WIN: 2 Tickets answer by Wed 28th November: Who is the writer of The Dark? Email: editor @ alt – africa. com
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