Ruth Wikler-Luker, founder/curator/producer of Portland’s BOOM Arts travelled to Los Angeles last June to see Cooking Oil, a performance and public dialogue initiative produced by LAPP after four years of collaborative artistic development in Uganda and Rwanda with director Emily Mendelsohn, playwright Deborah Asiimwe, designer Shannon Scrofano, and an incredible ensemble of performers from Kigali, Kampala, New York, and Los Angeles.
Ten months later, we were delighted to see our international dialogue continued under the curatorial vision of Wikler-Luker, who hosted Mendelsohn and a digital Asiimwe for a workshop of Appointment With gOD, which had its first performance at the University of Portland last night. The play is Asiimwe’s funny, insightful exploration of the US visa process from an African perspective. A group of visa applicants anxiously await their fate in a US embassy waiting room in a developing country, and compare strategies and experiences with one another between appointments with the “gODs” behind the counter.
Ironically, Asiimwe’s visa was not approved, preventing her from traveling to Portland for the work. Despite this, she and Mendelsohn were able to continue their ongoing exploration of cross-cultural aesthetic online, and with the participation of Portland-based actors, students, and activists.
If you happen to be in Portland, please jump into this exciting conversation around borders, power, and what it means to be the “other.”