Lantern Meet’s Poetry Will Warm Us puts the love and art on the spot

05:12 by Kaggwa Andrew

Even when our votes are rigged
And we are sinking like a stone,
Our Poetry will warm us….

Well the line is a personal improvising to rhyme with the closing poem from the Lantern Meet of Poets show that took place over the weekend at the National Theater.
Dubbed Poetry will Warm Us, it was a show that broke many of the rules – well not in a ridiculous way but it was that do where the beauty of art took center stage as opposed to delving into all the things affecting the society; bad governance, social evil and all those other things.
On the contrary though, the Lantern Meet of Poets put up a show that was looking at addressing love but above all, the importance of art in our daily lives and thus the title, Poetry Will Warm Us.
In the working title, poetry was used to represent the different arts; music, visual arts, poetry, spoken word or theater that people usually fall back to when they are facing difficulties in life.
The show that kicked off at about 7:30pm, slightly later than the announced time but it was no crisis. Like all their shows, they always choose to start with a monologue that tends to set the mood for entire recital, the past editions have all been done by intellect comedian Daniel Omara.
His monologue explored a number of issues ranging from the raging poverty that everyone is blaming on the government, the stolen election, Besigye’s arrest – the fascination with his driver who is never arrested even after driving him to a riot, Tubonga Nawe artistes boycott and most exciting one about the new kid on the block, Winnie Nwangi.
But it was the recital that actually took the day; the set was designed as a park – seats, plantations, imaginary water and an art piece in the background.
Directed by Solomon Manzi, the show was curated to reflect the three stages of a relationship starting from the dating to breakup or marriage for the others.
Here they recited poems like Yellow Fever, Maria Rosa and Kanyanje among others – most of them were hinged around finding love or convincing that special girl to take you for who you are.
Much of the poetry of the night had been written by Ann Linda Namuddu, Manzi, Francis Asiimwe and Jason Ntaro among others.
To make things less clattered on the stage, they chose to dress all the male cast in black and the females in white, according to Esther Namuli the Costume Designer for the production, the colors were a representative of the divide in ideas men and women usually have about relationships but neither of them was dark or evil.
“It was also a way of getting the audience’s attention instantly.”

Unlike the past shows where much of the recital and stage design was abstract, this particular show was rather direct and easy to understand, Aki Abaho, the Producer, noted that it was simply a show about love; “we went through our poetry achives and realized we had a lot of material about love, yet we’ve only done one show about love and that’s how this recital was born.”
She notes that they wanted to get people from the political tension they have had to accommodate for the past few months and thus they had to deliver such an accessible production.
The show was put together in three weeks though the selection had happened way earlier, since many of the performers are not professional actor and in this case most of them having professional lives elsewhere, rehearsals according to Manzi were limited.

Initially he says the show wanted to look at politics, love and art differently, but seeing that they would be many, they choose to focus on love and just pitch other topics around it.
Poetry will Warm us comes as the last piece, written by Manzi and performed by Latifah Mutesi, it comes after the heartbreaks, the cheating, irreconcilable differences and bitter fights, it was stressing a fact that even when we annoy the hell out of each other, we still go silent and listen to that song, watch that film our listen to that recital for healing.

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