21 December 2012

Uganda: Nourish Your Way to the Birth of Jesus With Christmas Cantata

Ever wondered what God thinks when he is seated on his throne beholding all the evil in Kampala just like he did back in the day when he sent his son Jesus to the world?

And since the Bible says Jesus existed even before his human birth, don't you wonder if He and his dad had any sort of confrontation? I mean, forsaking royalty to be re-born in the filth of this world is no easy feat - didn't they fight about God's proposal? Or Jesus was just a "yes" kid? You might have a million questions, just like me.

Well, the annual Watoto Christmas Cantata, which is taking place at Watoto Central on Kampala Road, is out to answer some of our queries. This year, they are telling the story of Jesus's birth from the heaven perspective. Just when you thought they were out of ideas after telling the same story for more than 20 years, here they come back with a new twist.

The theme for this year, When Love Sees You, takes from last year's One Child, which was told through an old Mary. Although, some scenes like an angel appearing to Mary, Joseph supporting a pregnant Mary while looking for shelter, the shepherds watching over their flock, the three wise men, are standard.

This time, the Christmas Cantata's When Love Sees You tells us the story through the eyes of heavenly beings that are seeing the suffering of mankind and are eager to intervene. We also get to see them act out a part of Jesus laying aside his royalty to come down to earth and accept to be born of a human. For a change, the choir, clad in white, also forms part of the great army of angels.

Interwoven with creative dance, adrenaline-charged music and a display of modern technological visual art, this is not a show to miss. Because a huge chunk of the stage has been elevated to accommodate the huge heavenly scenery, some expansion work had to be done on the inside, making the stage bigger than in the previous editions.

Curtain-dance, the stunts where you see ballerinas perching onto curtains that hurl them over the crowds in the auditorium, are also something to look forward to in this production.

If you attended last year's cantata, you surely have a feel of the scampering to be a part of the crowd seeing this production. Yes, it is that popular! So to be able to get yourself a seat, make sure you are at the venue at least an hour to the start.

David Tugume, the pastor of creative arts at Watoto, confirms that although the Christmas story they tell is the same every year, what makes it so popular is how creatively they twist it, yet maintaining the original meaning.

He says preparations began in June after a brainstorm of the year's theme was done.

"A lot of work has been done behind the scenes to prepare for the final show, we can't wait to have all come and see it," Tugume says.

Since not much has been written about heavenly beings regarding Christmas, many, like myself, will throng Watoto to have their curiosities put to rest. Personally, I ask myself how heaven zeroed in on Mary to be the mother of Jesus. Did each angel get to nominate virgin candidates after an intense patrol on earth? Was there an angelic panel of judges who voted?

Or, did Jesus even have a say in the matter, after all he was to grow up in this virgin's womb? All this intrigues us, and because nothing is said of it in the Bible, how is this play going to bring it out? Go find out.

As usual, you don't pay a penny to attend, so you have no excuse not to be there. Although it began on Tuesday, it is still on until Christmas eve on Monday, with two shows daily except on Sunday, where three shows will be on.

Weekday shows are on at 6:00pm and 8:00pm, while tomorrow's shows are on at 3:00pm and 5:00pm. On Sunday, it will show throughout the services at Watoto Central.

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