Racheal Hope Auma Namubiru is a female Ugandan writer and a member of Uganda Women Writers Association. She founded a theatre and film production company RHAN Production in 2016 to advocate for peace and justice through creative writing, theatre and film. She recently spoke to The IW’s Edinah Masanga (EM) via email.
EM: I have been itching to talk film and imagery with someone who actually knows about the subject. Are women represented enough in films, theatre? Objectively?
RN: No. Women are underrepresented in both theatre and film. Sometimes I feel that most male scriptwriters do not know what to do with women in their scripts! But again women are not helpless lambs! How do we expect equal representation in this area with very few female playwrights, scriptwriters, directors, stage managers, etcetera? That is what Bertolt Brecht calls ‘tempting God’ in his play THE CAUCAICIAN CHALK CIRCLE.
In many productions, women are depicted sexually almost all the time, and men are seen as powerful decisionmakers, what do you say to this?
The over-sexualization of women is very demeaning. I find it very disconcerting to use women as metaphors of sexism. I also think filmmakers and people in theatre need to be reminded that making an effort to create influential female characters that are restrictedly piloted by gender discrimination is terrible. I often wonder whether some people’s audience is only able to identify with women when they are portrayed vulnerable.
I would love to know if, personally, you consider gender when casting for your productions or should we cut artists some slack and let them just get on with their work of creating entertainment for us?
No. If I have cast at any point considering gender then it could have been subconscious. I feel it is a dramatic injustice to murder a character because I gender urgently want to birth a female character! Some stories are best told with multiple males than females and vice versa. For example, my current film script that is due for shooting in December 2017 has more males than females and I’m okay with that! I believe that our understanding horizon should be given an opportunity to broaden while writing as well as casting despite the undeniable global presence of political and social correctness.
I want to know more about Racheal the person, what’s a typical day like for you?
I wake up by 5:30 AM and by 6:30 AM I am ready to start my day. I am naturally a late night person. I commonly spend so many young hours of the night reading and writing.
What are your favourite plays, movies?
THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR and THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK are plays that keep tickling me so much every time I encounter them despite their ancientness. About movies, I am not sure what my favourite is; I have not been to the cinema since January 2017.
Any unique experiences you may want to share?
No. I will probably answer this when someone’s son builds a castle in cloud nine for me! LOL!
Do you have any interest in politics? If so what are your views?
Mmmmmmm. My political interest is rather a passive one.
How is it like, being a woman at the top? or really just being in charge?
I do not know how it feels like to be a woman at the top because I have never been there. To me, being in charge means critical thinking, problem-solving and risk-taking at several angles. In a nutshell, being in charge is a chain of a puzzle that is thirsty for daily watering. I find it a good problem though. It is a growing necessity.