Spotlighters & Artisphere present ‘The River and the Mountain’-Controversial Ugandan Play TONIGHT & Saturday

The  American Debut Reading of the Controversial play
In August 2012, one line from one play changed Ugandan history. “I’m gay” was uttered by the main character from The River and the Mountain, making it the first Ugandan play ever to have an openly gay character. Due to this, the producer of the play, David Cecil, was arrested for offending the Ministry of Ethics in Uganda.  While Mr. Cecil has since been released and the charges were dropped, Uganda is still trying to pass through its parliament an anti-homosexuality bill. This bill in its original form sought to punish those who were gay with the death penalty. One member of Parliament has assured the public that the penalty has been decreased from death to life in prison, but the Parliament has not and will not make the revised bill available to the public to verify this. This bill has become informally known around the world as the “Kill the Gays” Bill.
The original cast performing in Kampala, Uganda.
The original cast performing in Kampala, Uganda.

University of Nebraska at Lincoln lecturer, Sarah Imes Borden, wants to shed light on this revolutionary piece of art while exposing the underlying social issues. Along with playwright Beau Hopkins, Producer Dawn Marie Moe and Fight Director Ian Borden, Sarah will be introducing this very important work to audiences in the US through a series of staged readings. The readings will have a fundraising premiere in Lincoln, NE and then be performed in several venues along the East Coast this March. The readings in March will feature a performance by one of the original Ugandan cast members and talkbalks held by playwright Beau Hopkins.

This staged readings will feature a talk back to discuss this revolutionary piece of art and the underlying social issues with the playwright Beau Hopkins. One of the original actors in the play, Okuyo Prince was supposed to be here to be part of our cast but his travel to the U.S. to appear in the staged readings has been denied by the Ugandan government.

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The Spotlighters performance is TONIGHT – Thursday, March 21,  2013 at 8 PM.

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The Artisphere performance is on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 7:30 PM

Actress and activist Melissa Fitzgerald (West Wing) will be appearing in our free staged reading of The River and the Mountain this Saturday at Artisphere. We just learned that she will be in the cast that, pending being approved for travel out of Uganda, will also include Okuyo Prynce, one of the actors from the original Ugandan production. U.S. producer/director Sarah Imes Borden appealed to Congressman Jim Moran who reached out to the U.S. State Department to plead for Okuyo’s approval for travel.  I know it’s close to the reading’s date but with this addition to the cast and Congressman Moran’s involvement, I thought your readers would want to know more about it.

In addition to her role in this reading, Melissa is currently involved in advocating for peace in northern Uganda and Central Africa—- speaking to groups all over the United States as part of an advocacy campaign to end the violence in Central Africa and several times on Capitol Hill.  In the summer of 2006 she traveled with International Medical Corps as a volunteer to war-torn northern Uganda to work with IMC’s gender based violence program and with malnourished children and their mothers, giving birth toHope Not Lost, an award winning short film she produced documenting her experience, narrated by Martin Sheen.  In 2007, she traveled back to northern Uganda as the producer of the award winning feature film, After Kony-Staging Hope, a documentary that follows Voices in Harmony as they take their unique theater program to northern Uganda.

Admission for both performances is FREE/Pay What You Can. 

DONATIONS at the event will be used to fund this important project.


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