Silent Voices Uganda debuted Just You, Me and the Silence at Bat Valley Theatre at the end of July.
Known for their out of this world props, costumes and cast, it was quite unprecedented that they were going to stage their opening acts at Bat Valley Theatre, not that it’s a bad space, its auditorium lacks the basics that would qualify a space as a theatre, especially if it involves a set like that of Silent Voices.
And of course the fears especially from those that usually come for such shows were valid – many things truly went wrong that the show couldn’t start for almost an hour and a half; even when they eventually started, you could see stage managers struggle to push the props that often got stuck in the carpets.
Just You, Me and the Silence is not an abstract production, it’s accessible and easily digestible for the audience; it all starts at the primary location Jacob Obina’s home – Obina portrayed by Lakia Gilbert is an ambitious politician that builds a tower of dreams to further his political career.
It’s a dream that’s hugely marketable especially for a family that presents itself as Christian, before we know; Grace Obina (Nanfuka Rehema) easily buys in the dream plus their doubtful but loyal son Mathew Obina (Bbumba Ernest Robert).
Obina plans to table a bill that will not only banish gay behaviors but all things associated to the acts – he wants gay people arrested and their leaders hanged.
It however becomes complicated when gay activists don’t react in a way that those tabling the bill expected them to; they had anticipated a violent response that never happened.
Things get more complicated when it’s revealed there’s a queer person in Obina’s own family.
Just You, Me and the Silence brings out Adong’s color with the language especially with the free puns that keep popping up on the script most of the times – they usually talk about gay topics with light wordings that will get you laughing even at the sad things.
The dialogues were very compelling and inspiring – they spoke from a free spirited person’s mind, debunked the stereotypes of what a queer Ugandan is assumed to be and what he/she could actually be.
Adong’s masterful storytelling works in the audience’s mind, her choice of words may let you forget what the actors said but at the same time compelling enough not to let you forget how the story made you feel – she makes you question what many want to stand for and to what limits they could go with their stand.
Her story has a beginning, middle and the end – only issue was that most of the classic storytelling seem to follow a narrative focusing on the hero, yet with Just You, Me and the Silence, we follow the villain, Obina.
Shakirah Kibirige, Guy Zziwa and Rose Kironde, the costume and makeup team did a commendable job with bold costumes that were unassuming; a scene that involved over eight gay couples was quite memorable – colorful clothes, short shorts and some suspenders.
Kaz Kasozi’s music which was the soundtrack especially in all the cast’s day dreaming scenes was good to the ear but most importantly played a vital role of filling in for the actors during transitions.
Generally Adong’s Just You, Me and the Silence, is art in all angles and exploits actors to the limits by allowing them to be more than a thing on stage and at times in scenes that directly follow another scene where the same actors are meant to be in.