Collapse In Space; A Spectacle by the Citizen Kane Kollectiv, Germany

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Mind Boggling, – Betty S. Lunkuse (Uganda)

(Photo, Courtesy of Aka Diamond Media)

“ It has been 377 days since we started our journey together. 377 days of me trying to save us all.” The Earth is dying. Humanity is facing its end. Neoliberalism has turned the human species into egomaniacal zombies. Homo sapiens has become incapable of working together cooperatively. 377 days ago, the Citizen.KANE.Kollectiv was sent on a mission to escape Earth and find new forms of collaboration. In the beginning, there were five astronauts in SPHAERE – a structure they created themselves. But space is fragile. And so are they. Actually, no one expected them to last this long at all. And now they are having doubts: Do they really work together as they claim to do as a collective? Is everyone still on board or is there just one lonely captain floating through space? The Citizen.KANE.Kollectiv deals with society and itself. The effects of major crises on the individual are immense. Can and do we want to continue working together as a team ‘society’? What is our common vision? In SPHAERE – Collapse In Space, the Kollectiv asks how collective work can function.
Is the death of the ego a basis for a successful team? Or can each individual contribute nothing to the process because there are no more individual ideas? Who are we without the collective and what is the collective without us?

I bet you agree – even from the synopsis that this, the ‘SphaereCollapse in Space’ performance, is more than just a show, it is an experience. It is mind-boggling.
Well, maybe you weren’t there. In that case, Brace yourself, I am going to tell you. If you happened to attend this year’s Kampala International Theatre Festival organized by the Tebere Arts Foundation, I believe we may disagree about many things, but we do agree that this performance by Citizen.KANE.Kollectiv was indeed an experience. It was good. It was a full house, and as the synopsis already indicates, the audience had an opportunity to witness sci-fi on stage. It was my first of a kind.

Cyrus Bugaba (Photo, Courtesy of Aka Diamond Media)

In the story, Cyrus Bugaba, a Ugandan actor, takes center stage, as one of the five astronauts in this SPHAERE. A representation of many, the flaws in many organizations, administratively. The system is flawed. Cyrus, who is asleep inside the sphaere – in this spaceship when the show starts, is experiencing a series of dreams. The audience is first introduced to his voiceover, a narration of events as they have been happening and where they are now. On the right of the stage are the other four astronauts (Maximilian Sprenger -Germany, Simon Kubert – Germany, Gombya Hillary Kgatara – Uganda, and Christian Muller – Germany) clad in silver costumes, and before them are a table, microphones, and other gadgets, and on their shoulders are each strung a guitar or another musical instrument. They have a dialogue with Cyrus Bugaba, going back and forth, taking turns. They check for temperature, location, and other such details that if you pay attention to space programs, you might perhaps be more acquainted with, than myself. But hey, here are a few pictures for you.

As the show progresses, Cyrus expresses his dissatisfaction with how the events are happening in the Sphaere. He feels he is doing everything by himself. On the other end too, the other actors are dissatisfied with Cyrus’s way of doing things. They express remorse and ultimately care less and less.
As I watch the show, I keep asking myself;

  • Oh, too much tension over there. Are they going to talk it out?
  • Why is he inside alone?
  • Why is he so bitter? He complains all the time. I understand he feels neglected. He is putting in a lot. There is an imbalance. But of course, with that attitude, he can’t be anything less than nagging.
  • Are they just going to ignore him like that? Or they are silent. Like nothing happened. I bet what he just said doesn’t really matter.
  • Wait, did someone just put out the oxygen?
  • Is that some sort of coup de tat?\
  • Did I misunderstand any and everything?

Those are some of the questions I ask myself as the show progresses. But I do think that by now, I have already disclosed so much of what goes on in the performance. So I won’t leak any more spoilers.

And well, I did have a conversation with Maximillian Sprenger, Christian Muller, and Simon Kubat, all members of the Citizen.KANE.Kollectiv, and active performers of the SPHAERE -Collapse from Space. Asked them a few questions, and here are some of the responses they shared. Enjoy.

From watching the play, I do understand that what you are trying to convey, especially for those in positions of leadership and influence, is that it is better to work in a team. I also understand that the Citizen.KANE.Collectiv’s approach is more from a humanitarian perspective. Please make me understand more of that.

I think; science fiction stories are always not just fiction. They are very real. They may show us the future; either utopian or dystopian. And then you have to think about that; with Utopia, what do we have now already, or what don’t we have? What steps do we take to achieve what we don’t have yet?
With a dystopian future, you start by asking questions like, what do we have now and what is not going well? Then, where can this lead if we don’t watch it? For example, censorship is one of the topics you may explore in sci-fi. Like we have censorship now but if we are not aware of it, things can get even worse. We could get this future that we don’t want to live in.
The way I see it is that the science fiction journey is a reality because we already have the reality. For instance, in some cases of capitalism, we may start to lose our sense of collectiveness and unity, within the human sphere and if we don’t focus on that more, we may lose a lot more and that can create a very un-liveable future. “ – Maximilian Sprenger

Maximilian Sprenger, left. Beverly Nambozo, right. Photo moment after the show (Photo, Courtesy of Aka Diamond Media)

And, to add to that; What we are trying to do in the team is to take everybody’s ideas seriously and to create a space for them. To ensure that everybody puts themselves into the project as much as they want and as they can, in this moment with all their ideas and energy. That also means that we open up to everybody’s ideas, and then we explore all alternatives so that at some point one can look and realize that ‘Hey, I said in the beginning that I wanted to do that, but now I realize that this is best. That way, we all have an understanding of the event even as a group. Instead of having one leader that forces you to do something. So we try to find solutions in the group and be supportive of one another and try to have this understanding and acceptive approach towards one another from the inside. – Simon Kubert.

Simon Kubert, left. Hillary Kgatara, right. (Photo, Courtesy of Aka Diamond Media)


Simon Kubert, left. Hillary Kgatara, right. (Photo, Courtesy of Aka Diamond Media)

Also, there is a tendency, that we as humans often look at each other as another material – a means to an end. I think that that is also a mistake and we should try to avoid it. It is important that we focus on our human aspects and that we bring that into our work environments. We can talk about our feelings for example, because then, you can be even more productive and more efficient if you focus on who you are and who you are working with. You consider where every team member is coming from not in an aspect of just location, but also the mental state. For instance, if I am angry because of traffic and I bring the anger to the workspace, And you do not recognize my humanness, if not addressed, this feeling can affect the whole group. Naturally. It is better for us to achieve more working together, and also be more open-minded about sharing feelings that we would have suppressed otherwise. – Maximilian Sprenger


Why did you choose the theme of sci-fi and the Sarah Kane approach, instead of what I would perhaps term ‘Normal Theatre.’? Why, the sci-fi setting?

I think we ask ourselves if there is a ‘normal’ really. Like, what is normal theatre? I think there is theatre which is very common, and a lot of people use it, but I don’t think it is normal. It is not something we forefront of per se. We often just think, about what kind of problem is, and what kind of approach is best. So, for this kind of story, what is the best way to show it instance? – Christian Muller

Cyrus Bugaba (Photo, Courtesy of Aka Diamond Media)

This is also a very personal play because there is so much of our story in it. Like, a lot of the routines our protagonist has i.e. the protocol, is something we do. Also, towards the end of the play, there is a Dialogue between Cyrus the captain, and us, there is so much weaved in there, that we experienced as the Citizen.KANE.Kollectiv. We believe that the stories we experience are stories that other people out there experience to one extent or another. It then becomes very interesting for us to tell these stories because it is also an experience for us to see, or hear what the audience takes away from our experience. Our approach is not just to give answers but to especially raise questions in theatre. Maximilian Sprenger


You also asked where this approach came from, and it was during the COVID-19 time. We kept trying to make theatre but we couldn’t do the one show that we had planned. We couldn’t develop the piece we had planned the way that we had planned it. So we started making a music album out of the topics, and music videos for it. In one of those, there was an astronaut character on the cover, which picture we had used for the isolation. Remember you had to be alone, and couldn’t meet very many people. The isolation topic is one that stayed with us, so we kept thinking about this collective consciousness or subconsciousness. What do we as a society, as a group, have that awareness? What connects, what combines us? So somebody conceived the idea to put it all together. With influence from the book SOLARIS by Stanislav Lem. Long story short, here we are a few years later- Simon Kubert

The play also consists of audio snippets from the history of space travel, including that of Yuri Gagarin, the first Russian to travel to space, snippets of the moon landing, snippets from the tragic story of the explosion of Challenger, a space shuttle discovery. This all is real, and yet functions as a metaphor of what we can achieve as a collective. – Maximilian Sprenger

Miss Gloria Achillah, Kampala International Theatre Festival Media Lead (Left), with Miss Asiimwe Deborah Kawe (Right), Producing Artistic Director @ Tebere Arts Foundation inside The SPHAERE.

Loving this? Well me TOO!

I also had a chat with Miss Gombya Hillary Kgatara, the Ugandan actress who performed with the Citizen.KANE.Kollectiv and this is what she had to say.

The experience for me was fantastic. It was amazing working with different people; I had never worked with a team from Germany, even though I had earlier worked with teams from the USA and England. For me to work with a German team was a beautiful experience and they treated me well. The time I spent with the Citizen KANE Kollectiv, I like to believe that I made new friends, and learned about their culture. We had time to chat with each other. They did not put me under any pressure, which is unlike some of the past experiences I have had before. They did not give me the impression that I was just acting. But they made me feel that I am the character and that I own what I say. I own the part – the role.

Miss Gombya Hillary Kgatara (Photo; Courtesy of Aka Diamond Media)

Working with them made me realize that if you are acting, you have to be more of yourself than acting because you have to act. The role then becomes an extension or part of you, for the time you are acting it. Yes, I played the part of the scientist, but also, I did feel like Hillary (me – myself) I am the one at that moment. So I got the courage to be more of myself. I was so relaxed. There was no tension.

The experience did too much for me because sometimes when I am on stage, I feel kind of shy, but there is a way my self-esteem was raised, whilst working with the Citizen Kane Kollectiv. I feel like, I would just want to do this with them again, and other people who will come for the Kampala International Theatre Festival. I just wanted to do more. It made me feel like, I just want people to understand who Hillary is, from the person she was before the Citizen Kane Kollectiv and SPHERE ‘Collapse from Space) experience. … – Gombya Hillary Kgatara


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  1. Kgatara Hilary says:

    Wow this is so amazing and spectacular. Thank you for the great job💕

    1. Betty Lunkuse says:

      You’re welcome dear

  2. Muhanuzi David says:

    Great Work, Betty.

    1. Betty Lunkuse says:

      Thank you, David.

  3. Aka Diamond Media says:


    1. Betty Lunkuse says:

      Thank you, Aka Diamond Media

  4. Asiimwe D. Kawe says:

    You’re a star in the making, Betty! I saw enjoy reading your blogs. Thank you for writing this and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you!

    1. Betty Lunkuse says:

      Thank you very much, Miss Kawe.

  5. William Kimera says:

    The blog post is a well-written and informative review of a thought-provoking play. The author provides a detailed synopsis of the play, as well as their own personal insights and reactions. They also include interviews with the actors and crew, which gives the reader a deeper understanding of the play’s creative process.

    1. Betty Lunkuse says:

      Yaayy!!! Thank you Wilhem,

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