When life imitates art imitating life | Ugandan playwright of work about difficulty in obtaining US visa denied US visa to attend discussion of her play at Boom Arts

As you know, Boom Arts has an event Monday night at Lewis & Clark College.

Theatre in Uganda & Rwanda: Commemoration, Complexity, & Collaboration was to have been a discussion with director Emily Mendelsohn (NYC) & playwright Deborah Asiimwe (Uganda) about Asiimwe’s play Appointment with gOD, which runs next weekend April 11-13 at PSU, in which a young woman artist from a developing country who hopes to come to the US for a theatre workshop is denied a visa by the local US Embassy.

And now as luck would have it, Asiimwe has herself been denied a visa to attend the evening. So Skype will have to do.

Boom Arts AD Ruth Wikler-Luker mused: “How ironic is it that despite major efforts on our part to bring Deborah here for Boom Arts’ workshop of that play– which have included affirmations by both an immigration lawyer and DC-based consular officer of our request’s validity, as well as repeated urgent messages sent by the State Department in DC and Senator Ron Wyden’s office in Oregon, asking the Vice Consul in Uganda to issue Deborah her visa immediately– that the gODs at the US Embassy in Uganda have allowed time to tick by until it is too late?”

Indeed.

At any rate, the event is still on. So come learn more about this intriguing project, starting with Monday’s discussion.

Come check out the latest project at Boom Arts starting Monday night at Lewis & Clark.
Come check out the latest project at Boom Arts starting Monday night at Lewis & Clark.

Theatre in Uganda & Rwanda: Commemoration, Complexity, & Collaboration

An Artist Talk by director Emily Mendelsohn (NYC) & playwright Deborah Asiimwe (Uganda)
Monday, April 7, 2014, 7:00pm
The Fir Acres Main Stage Theatre, Lewis & Clark College

What does long-term artistic collaboration between the US and Africa look like? Hear from US-based director Emily Mendelsohn and her collaborator of seven years, acclaimed Ugandan playwright Deborah Asiimwe as they discuss their five-year, binational creation process for Cooking Oil, a play exploring the grassroots politics of foreign aid, as well as the upcoming work Maria Kizito, being developed in Rwanda by US, Rwandan, and Ugandan artists on the subject of the Rwandan genocide. Discover these artists’ extraordinary work and learn what it takes to connect, listen, and create across cultures.

Appointment with gOD by Deborah Asiimwe

The US Visa Process from an African Perspective
April 11 & 12 at 7:30pm, April 13 at 2:00pm, 2014
Lincoln Hall Studio Theatre, Portland State University

Join us for workshop performances of Appointment with gOD, Ugandan playwright Deborah Asiimwe’s funny, insightful exploration of the US visa process from an African perspective. A group of visa applicants anxiously await their fate in a US embassy waiting room in a developing country, and compare strategies and experiences with one another between appointments with the “gODs” behind the counter.

These performances will follow a week-long Boom Arts artist residency at Portland State University with Asiimwe and her collaborator, NY-based director Emily Mendelsohn. They will feature dynamic Portland actors Victor Mack, Ithica Tell, and Damaris Webb, as well as drummer Alex Addy of the Obo Addy Legacy Project, plus student and community performers. Each performance will be followed by curated community conversations about what it means to encounter and enter the United States– and the roads new Portlanders have taken to get here.