by Michael Proft, Playwright
(Dionysus on the Down Low was selected for the Wisconsin Wrights New Play Festival)
I was channel surfing one night and came upon a BBC documentary called “The World’s Worst Place to Be Gay.” It’s available in its entirety on YouTube:
As a gay man, the piece really spoke to me. After doing a bit of research online, I learned about David Kato, Uganda’s most prominent LGBT activist.
David Kato, in fact, became the inspiration for my character David Okello in DIONYSUS ON THE DOWN LOW. David Kato was charismatic, smart, funny, irreverent and a prominent figure in an astonishing documentary: Call Me Kuchu. Here’s a link to the official trailer:
The documentary focuses on a small circle of Ugandan friends and their response to the horrific anti-homosexuality bill proposed in the Ugandan parliament. One Ugandan featured in the documentary leaves Uganda and seeks political asylum in Sweden. I wondered what it would be like to leave your home and suddenly find yourself in a totally foreign culture. My imagination kept going and I wondered what would happen if a gay Ugandan refugee in the United States fell in love with an American. Could people from two wildly different worlds make a go of it as a couple? What would it be like? What challenges would they face? Could it even work?
My exploration of those questions what DIONYSUS ON THE DOWN LOW is about.