What are the themes of your play?
The idea was to look at all the states of darkness people go through as they escape from their country of origin. The Dark puts the human condition under stress. How does a person let go of one’s country and enter another? More important than themes I wanted to tell a story that was not too weighted in the male experience and with western world viewpoint. It counters the emotion of loss with the need for connection.
Why did you write it and why now?
The Dark is a story of the other. Often the other is a statistic we hear on the news often with a negative or biased connotation. I wanted to give a face to the otherness. The play asks the question – When did my mother and I stop being Ugandans in our native land and become a spectacle for the Western gaze? Or more simply – When did we become the other?
I wanted to take the story out of the hands of the reporter and place it into the mouths of those who experience the journey. My exodus during the Idi Amin war shares similarities to Homer’s Odyssey. The obvious parallel is fall of Troy and the crumbling of of the Amin dictatorship. My mother is the equivalent of the hero Odysseus the matatu is her ship; both The Dark and the Odyssey are poetic works.
Which playwrights are you influenced by and why?
This could be a long list because even though I am also a poet I am often inspired by theatre. The black box is a catalyst for the imagination. Playwrights I draw from are Amiri Baraka, Athol Fugard, David Mamet, August Wilson, Dael Orlandersmith, debbie tucker green, Anna Deavere Smith, Arinze Kene, Alfred Fagon, Suzan-Lori Parks and Inua Ellams.
What do you want to achieve as a playwright?
I would like to build a catalogue of new contemporary plays.
The Dark produced by Fuel theatre and directed by JMK award-winner Roy Alexander Weise was on national tour.