Charles Everett

Actor & TV Host

Filtering by Tag: #SunInUganda

Images

Bits and pieces... 

The whole team 

The whole team 

This is where I stay. The bathroom is behind the door. It's small. 

This is where I stay. The bathroom is behind the door. It's small. 

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Onstage during the talk back after the first performance 

Onstage during the talk back after the first performance 

With brilliant Ugandan poet Peter Kagayi 

With brilliant Ugandan poet Peter Kagayi 

The after party was LIT 

The after party was LIT 

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Temesgen getting interviewed 

Temesgen getting interviewed 

Cake Cake Cake

Cake Cake Cake

I felt the rain down in Aaafricaaaa

Fight the (lack of) Power

Uganda, and Kampala in particular, is beautiful. The people are amazing. But for a person visiting from NYC, there are a few things that you have to get used to. One is that the power goes out 3 or 4 times a day. It's never for long, usually just for a few minutes, sometimes up to an hour or two. While us New Yorkers are still adjusting to this phenomenon, the Ugandans barely notice when it happens. Of course, our great fear is that the power will go out during our show. Our first performance is tonight. Hmm, I wonder what will happen? 😒

 But first...we had to get through the day. This morning our fearless leader Antu Yacob participated in a panel discussion with female playwrights involved in the festival. It was a pleasure to witness these brilliant women discussing their craft. 


 

Antu! 

Antu! 

The moderator of the discussion was a professor at the NYU Abu Dhabi campus, who flew his class to Kampala for 24 hours to take in the festival. To see this international class of college kids intensely studying female African playwrights was beyond inspiring. I teach in the NYU system in New York, and on talking with Bob I found that we have a student in common! Truly small world indeed. 

 Next up was tech rehearsal. This was literally the only chance we would get to run the complete show in full dress with all cues before our first performance...a few hours later. To our surprise, we didn't lose power once. Good omen? 

 

The men of Mourning Sun before the last rehearsal 

The men of Mourning Sun before the last rehearsal 

Filming tech

Filming tech

So anyway, the performance - the reason we're here - finally arrived. And it was...awesome. The audience laughed, they cried, and they cheered. And in a sign that God was truly on our side, the power did go out once - but it only lasted a minute, and it was during intermission. 😊 Oh - and it also happened during the post-show talkback and it was amazing. #Blessed  

The lights went out on Antu and she kept going like a boss! 

30,000 Ugandan shillings = about 10 bucks

30,000 Ugandan shillings = about 10 bucks

Black Friday's not a thing here

I've met some amazing artists at KITF, from places like Zambia, Mozambique, Nigeria, as well as Europe and the USA. I've been truly inspired by the African playwrights and actors and their commitment to using theatre as a way to effect positive change. In the States we give a lot of lip service to art as activism, but here they don't have to - because why else does art exist? 

I've seen some very powerful, thought provoking pieces here today, and it's making me anxious to see how the audience here will react to our performance of Mourning Sun.  Also looking forward to the conversations that will follow, and the opportunity for some unfiltered dialog with folks who have a cultural perspective vastly different from my own. Our first show is a little less than 24 hours away, and I can't wait! 

 

Filming an outdoor rehearsal 

Filming an outdoor rehearsal 

Staged reading of "The Surrogate" by Achiro Patricia Olwoch 

Staged reading of "The Surrogate" by Achiro Patricia Olwoch 

Performance of "Tropical Fish" by Doreen Baingana

Performance of "Tropical Fish" by Doreen Baingana

Africat 

Africat 

#KITF2016 Kickoff

Today marked not only the first day of the festival, but the first of our two rehearsals in the theatre space before our performances this weekend. Our rehearsal didn't start until the afternoon, so I had a little time to do a quick video tour of the incredible place where we are staying. 

The Ndere theatre troupe was founded in 1984 as a means to combat colonialism by presenting realistic portrayals of African life and addressing the needs to find the local communities. In 1997 they expanded to a nationwide network to fill the void left by the closure of the Uganda National Theatre. It is so inspiring to see the work they are doing here with limited resources. They have an incredible passion for the arts and they recognize the need for theatre that is urgent, truthful, and that represents their community. They now have over 2,000 theatre groups all across Uganda - and they make me feel more than ever that I need to be doing work that makes a difference. 

If you work in the theatre, you know that the first tech rehearsal is usually long, stressful, and a bit disorganized. Now try having your first tech rehearsal on a foreign continent that you arrived at the day before, in a theater you've never seen, and without your director. In spite of all that, we managed to get through the show and have some fun along the way. Shout out to John Keller, our castmate whose luggage got left behind in Dubai, forcing him to wear the clothes he traveled in for the second day in a row. They actually made all of our set pieces down here to our specifications so we wouldn't have to travel with them. There is a guy named "Uncle Pete" who has a shed behind the theater and can build just about anything. Thank you Uncle Pete! 

 

Inspecting Uncle Pete's handiwork 

Inspecting Uncle Pete's handiwork 

The bright lights... 

The bright lights... 

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The day ended with the opening reception of the 2016 Kampala International Theatre Festival. There was food, drinks, music, and we got to see a powerfully moving performance of "The Audience Must Say Amen," which was written, directed and performed by Peter Kayagi. 

 

Red carpet ready 

Red carpet ready 

Festival Director Asiimwe Deborah Kawe addresses the crowd at the opening reception 

Festival Director Asiimwe Deborah Kawe addresses the crowd at the opening reception 

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Amen! 

Amen! 

Just another day in Uganda. Man, I need some sleep...see you tomorrow! 

Touchdown

This is going to be a short post because I'm exhausted, but after 24 hours of travel we made it safe and sound to the Ndere Culture Center in Kampala, Uganda. We connected through Dubai, and the airport looks something like this:

Dubai International Airport 

Dubai International Airport 

After landing at Entebbe Airport, we endured a 4 hour drive to Ndere, mostly due to traffic. As you can see in the video, the bikes are moving pretty freely and the cars, not so much. 

At one point, a few of us got out of the cramped car to stretch our legs, and a woman sitting in a car next to us started talking to us. As soon as she found out we were Americans, she wanted to talk about Donald Trump! She also gave us her thoughts on the electoral college. 😂 

We finally got to Ndere, checked into our rooms and had a nice dinner. We're all exhausted, but looking forward to rehearsing in the space here, meeting the other artists, and getting to explore more of Kampala.  See you tomorrow! 

P. S. Shout out to Emirates Airlines for giving you a 4 course meal and complimentary wine in COACH. That was key. 

I went with the chicken 

I went with the chicken