By Hussein Kiganda
“Biro,” a stage play written by Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, a renowned Ugandan Hollywood actor, captivated audiences at the National Theatre on May 28, 2023. This marked its national premiere after a remarkable two-decade hiatus since its initial debut at the same venue.
The compelling solo stage drama chronicles the life of a young Ugandan boy who endured the tumultuous era of Idi Amin, fought in the bush war alongside President Yoweri Museveni, and eventually found himself in America, battling for survival after contracting AIDS during his military service.
With the aid of mesmerizing special effects, this 90-minute one-character play commences within the confines of a prison cell, where a desperate inmate beseeches for assistance, weaving his life story from childhood to incarceration, before culminating in the same somber location.
Following the screening, Mwine expressed his desire to transform “Biro” into a feature film if sufficient funding were available. He acknowledged, however, that such an undertaking would entail significant costs, necessitating a collective effort.
“Given the opportunity, I would certainly develop it into a feature film. Yet, the financial requirements are substantial,” he conveyed.
When queried about the possibility of reprising the play in theaters, Mwine nodded affirmatively, indicating that he would contemplate the prospect. The audience’s overwhelming response to the performance prompted a standing ovation, leaving literary scholars in awe of Mwine’s ability to deliver an exceptional solo act that endured for 90 captivating minutes.
Prominent figures from diverse fields graced the event, including Cindy Magara, a film lecturer at Makerere University, and Julianne Mweheire, the Director of Industry Affairs and Content Development at Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), among others.
Ntare is currently present in the country to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Uganda Film Festival (UFF), which commenced several days ago. He is anticipated to be among the esteemed guests at the gala night scheduled for June 2, 2023.
The screening of “Biro” formed an integral part of the UFF screenings that commenced on May 22, 2023. This particular showing received special recognition, commemorating its 20th anniversary.