It was deemed as an erotica production, aptly titled Withdraw, it was easy to imagine that Rashida Namulondo, a poet/performer was going to deliver some modern feminism blunt talk.
Luckily we were wrong, in fact, so wrong.
Namulondo was simply staging a sequel of her 2014 début show Layers.
Then, she was only finding fame among the circles of poetry lovers, performing at Kwivuga, Open Mic and of course winning the Babishai Niwe Poetry award – but in a conversation, the soft spoken artist says she did the show specifically because of her mother.
Sadly, Namulondo’s mother passed on a little after that successful show at the National Theatre’s CICP.
Much as she continued performing, travelling and leading an artistic path that saw creations like two Afroman Spice productions, a school theatre festival and cultural exchanges, Namulondo reveals that she has been depressed ever since.
It was the desire to finally let her mother go, to end the depression and move on with her life that created the backbone of Withdraw, a production she presented at a private location in Muyenga on Wednesday.
The production much as was therapy for Namulondo, it was also a reflection as well as an assertion that depression is not simply a white man’s thing but is real even among everyday Ugandans.
With one major prop, a bed, Namulondo took the audience on a journey of her depression without being apologetic about anything; “When people are depressed, they do things, but they don’t have to be ashamed about them.”
The show crafted with emotions and subtle erotica addressed stages of depressions that saw the antagonist dance a lot, travel, make short-term friends as well as having lots of sex.
With a fusion of music, brought to life by her début collaborator Kaz Kasozi, a dance routine choreographed by Grace Ibanda and theatre directed by Judith Adong, the show created moments, sparked a feeling and started conversations of a how people deal with depression.
For instance, it was surprising when Namulondo’s on-stage dance partner, Guy Jairus revealed that before they started working on the production, he was going through a depression and thus the artistic involvement has not left him the same.
The show which was happening on what happened to be Namulondo’s thirtieth birthday was according to her a way of fully growing up.
The show ended with the much needed audience involvement when Namulondo asked audience members to check below their sits for flash lights they had to switch on and hold up, climaxing with a song and a prayer to all that are departed.