Edinburgh Fringe 2022
‘If I invited you to come with me on a journey, a story, will you come with me?’ Northern Uganda. When Okumu’s village is attacked by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), he and his brother’s lives are changed forever. Far Gone is a profoundly moving story of a young boy’s journey from childhood innocence to child soldier. Seen through the eyes of those that love him and those that betray him, Okumu’s experience strikes straight at the heart through a powerful one-man performance.
In the small studio space at Zoo Southside the audience is greeted by a small boy, Okumu, playing with a spinning top. As he encourages a patron to play with him, we get the sense of an innocent life with no real cares in the world, except that his older brother might tickle him. But the Okumu’s idyllic time is cut short when rebels come to his village with guns blazing. Very quickly we watch his world ripped apart and the imperiled anguish that comes with loved ones suddenly taken away. Over the next 60 minutes, we witness the horrors of war through the eyes of the child. He is given a gun and told he will now do God’s work.
John Rothomack gives a virtuosic performance as the young boy, his brother, the sadistic soldier and the General. With simple ease he transforms his physical demeanor from character to character as he tells us the story with words gestures and mime. Director Mojisola Elufowoju keeps the play taut and focused. The excellent design team supports with an environmental soundscape and evocative lighting.
The story is shocking. It is meant to be. In the west, we watch these savage atrocities to children from a safe distance that insulates us from the realities that others have to face. The show raises funds for the Women’s Advocacy Network of the Justice and Reconciliation Project in Uganda.
This production goes far beyond storytelling. It surpasses entertainment. It is a highly recommended, formidible demonstration of the atrocities of war. You will be moved.