Currently titled Idi Amin, America, and a Bar of Soap, the one-man show is based on the life of Derreck Kayongo, who also is the performer in the production.
Born in Uganda under Idi Amin’s brutal regime, Kayongo fled to Kenya as a boy and eventually immigrated to America, where he founded the Global Soap Project. The program distributes soap to vulnerable populations worldwide in an effort to improve hygiene and health. Kayongo was named a CNN Hero in recognition of his work, and is currently the CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta. In 2016, he was Oglethorpe’s commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient.
The play, which the Alliance Theatre has called “a theatrical, intimate look at an imperfect man trying to do good in the world,” was written by Patricia Henritze, who has taught playwriting at Oglethorpe. Professor Huff has been assisting in the project’s development for over a year. A showcase of the three plays supported by the Reiser grant will be staged by the Alliance in 2017.The Alliance launched the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab in 2013 to support and provide opportunities to artists of multiple theatre disciplines looking for a producing home for undeveloped work. Three projects are chosen annually by a panel of judges representing local and national artists of varying disciplines. Each project receives $10,000 to use toward further exploration and development, as well as access to the Alliance’s artistic, educational and production staffs, and rehearsal spaces. It is the goal of the Lab to celebrate the breadth and vision of Atlanta-based artists, to encourage collaboration among Atlanta’s artistic community, and to seed projects that will be produced here in Atlanta.