Posts Tagged ‘Miracle in Rwanda’

Nat Ramabulana and Janna Ramos Violante perform in The Imagined Land at Vicky’s, Grahamstown, 10 July 2015, at the 2015 National Arts Festival. The Imagined Land is a new play by acclaimed writer Craig Higginson in which a famous Zimbabwean novelist, modelled on Nadine Gordimer and Doris Lessing, is confronted by her biographer with difficult memories from her past. Photo: CuePix / Jane Berg.

The National Arts Festival pretty much reflects the theatre scene as a whole. There is still not enough black theatre, and there are not enough black audience members. It’s largely a matter of economics but it’s also related to artistic will.

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Leslie Lewis transforms herself into a host of characters to tell the story of Rwandan genocide survivor, Immaculée Ilibagiza, in Miracle in Rwanda in Grahamstown on 4 July 2015, at the National Arts Festival. For 91 days, Immaculée Ilibagiza and seven other women huddled silently, cramped together in an undiscovered extra bathroom in a local pastor’s home (Photo: CuePix/Mia van der Merwe).

As members of the audience enter The Hangar, US actor Leslie Lewis encourages them to stand in groups inside a rectangle (“3 x 4 feet”) marked out with masking tape on the floor. This is to give them some idea of what it was like for Immaculée Ilibagiza to hide away for three months with, eventually, seven other people in a tiny bathroom.

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