It's often thought that one goes to the theatre to escape, but a new musical onstage at the A.R.T. in Cambridge asks its audience to engage, leaving them with challenging questions surrounding American aid in African countries.
It's called Witness Uganda, and it tells the true story of Griffin Matthews — a young black American who left New York City in 2005 for a 6-week service trip to Uganda. His original mission was to help build a village school, but a chance encounter with a group of orphaned teenagers would drastically change the rest of his trip, and the next 8 years of his life. When he returned to New York, Griffin started Uganda Project, a non-profit that sponsors the education of Ugandan orphans. But when the economic collapse of 2008 struck, Griffin was out of money and losing hope.
That's where his partner, composer Matt Gould, came in, and the music of Witness Uganda began. Five years later, it's making its world premiere with the American Repertory Theatre , under the direction of Tony Award-winner Diane Paulus.
WBUR, "Gould calls their musical 'a thriller' because it captures the confusion and epiphanies he and Matthews felt trying to make change in a country so dramatically different than their own."
This segment aired on February 14, 2014.