October 22, 2007
Acclaimed one-woman play on Rwandan genocide, 'Miracle in Rwanda,' comes to Stanford
When the Rwandan genocide began in April 1994, 22-year-old Tutsi student Immaculée Ilibagiza hid with seven other women in the tiny bathroom of a local Hutu pastor's home. At times during the ensuing months, she heard the machete-wielding mob in the next room calling her name. When she emerged 91 days later, she had dropped to 65 pounds. She lost both parents and two brothers in the massacre.
Her drama is reenacted in a one-woman show, Miracle in Rwanda, created by Leslie Lewis Sword, to be performed at 7 p.m. Nov. 1-4 in Piggott Theater. Performances sold out in New York and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, with the Village Voice writing that "Sword's one-woman performance makes riveting theater."
Each performance will be followed by a post-show discussion examining issues of forgiveness and reconciliation raised in the play, the first program of the Stanford Drama Department's "Stages of Reconciliation" project, which uses performance to explore intractable human problems.
On Nov. 1, Fred Luskin will speak about the politics of reconciliation, comparing the situation in Rwanda with Northern Ireland. He is author of Forgive for Good and director of the Stanford Forgiveness Project.
On Nov. 2, the speaker will be Theogene Rudasingwa, a leader in the Rwandese Patriotic Front from 1990 to 1996. He helped establish a new government for Rwanda and became the first ambassador to the United States in post-genocide Rwanda, serving from 1996 to 1999. He then became the Rwandan president's chief of staff from 2000 to 2004. Currently, he is vice president for global affairs and global projects specialist for Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation, based in San Francisco, where he works to develop partnerships with organizations engaged in large-scale HIV/AIDS treatment delivery.
On Nov. 3, Byron Bland, associate director of Stanford's Center on International Conflict and Negotiation, will speak about the relationship between personal and community-based reconciliation. He is a founding member of the Colloquium on Violence and Religion and has served as a lecturer in the Stanford Law School, the School of Education and the Program in International Relations.
On Nov. 4, Robert Gregg, professor emeritus of religious studies, will speak about the role of faith in times of crisis, and the difficult task of forgiveness. Gregg is acting director of the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies.
For additional historical background, Beyond the Gates, a 2005 film about the Rwandan genocide (in Britain, the title was Shooting Dogs), will be screened at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29, in Piggott Theater. The screening is free and open to the public.
Tickets for Miracle in Rwanda are available online at http://drama.stanford.edu. Prepaid tickets are sold online for $15 general admission; $10 for senior citizens, Stanford faculty and staff; and $5 for Stanford students, plus a small online service charge. Some tickets may be available at the door, but the production is expected to sell out, so online reservations are encouraged.
Miracle in Rwanda, continuing Stanford Summer Theater's 2007 Africa on Stage festival, is sponsored by the Department of Drama, Continuing Studies Program, Center for African Studies and Stanford Institute for Creativity and the Arts.