“This came about when I decided to visit Uganda, just to venture into the unknown. I had done shows previously about things in my past, like Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which was about depression and suicide; and Going Green the Wong Way, that focused on a car I purchased that ran on vegetable oil and caught fire on the freeway. I finally got sick of myself and became disenchanted with doing theater in a film town. So, I decided if I was going to do another show, let it be about something that I had no clue how to handle and was kind of intimidated to approach. That’s when I stumbled onto the idea of going to Africa to look at issues around global poverty. I ended up in Northern Uganda where there was a civil war. That war ended in 2006. The country was in recovery mode and I found myself volunteering with a micro-loan organization. My third day in Northern Uganda, I met these guys out on the street and they turned out to be rappers. I recorded a rap album with them that is still playing on Northern Uganda radio. While there, I was also navigating through a lot of emotions about what my impact as an American was leaving on everybody around me. A lot of Africa, a lot of developing countries, have had to deal with the brunt of Western countries that come in to try to save the day. Then they leave this aftermath of chaos behind them. Somehow, my experiences with all of that have turned into this fun, very accessible show performed on a handmade set that is a kind of replica of the New York Stock Exchange. It works.”
Julio Martinez-hosted Arts in Review—celebrating the best in theater and cabaret in the Greater Los Angeles area—airs Fridays (2-2:30pm) on KPFK (90.7FM).