Our Lady of Kibeho
By Katori Hall
Directed by Michael Greif
Originally produced at Signature Theatre, New York, NY.
October 28, 2014 through December 14, 2014
About the Premiere Production
In 1981, a village girl in Rwanda claims to see the Virgin Mary. Ostracized by her schoolmates and labeled disturbed, everyone refuses to believe, until the impossible starts happening again and again. Skepticism gives way to fear, faith, and fate, causing upheaval in the school community and beyond. Based on real events, Our Lady of Kibeho is the second production of Olivier Award-winning playwright Katori Hall’s Residency at Signature.
Katori Hall’s Our Lady of Kibeho is a play that does more than tell a story about three young women in Rwanda in the 1980’s; it explores the universal themes of conflict, faith, and love. Katori has a found a way to talk about the horrors of the Rwandan genocide, a critical conversation in and of itself, through the lens of belief in ourselves, in one another, and in something greater. It also draws our minds to the conflicts that surround us today, both in other countries experiencing frightening unrest and in our own home towns.
The extra time we were able to grant this production proved invaluable in the execution of some of the play’s “miracles”. From levitating actors, to a garden that grows inside a dormitory room, the production required countless hours of technical rehearsal to achieve the magic necessary to fully realize the play. This included giving actors rehearsal time in fly harnesses, allowing extra rehearsal for slight-of-hand tricks and crew effects to become smooth, and finessing lighting and projection design to best reveal each effect. In addition, the inclusion of period religious music from the region required extra hours of choral rehearsal for the company and the specific Rwandan dialect used, in addition to instances of spoken Kinyarwanda and Italian, called for dedicated time for each actor with the production’s dialect coach.
Director: Michael Greif
Set Design: Rachel Hauck
Lighting Design: Ben Stanton
Sound Design: Matt Tierney
Costume Design: Emily Rebholz
Peter Nigrini (Projection Designer), Michael McElroy (Original Music and Music Direction), Greg Meeh (Special Effects Designer), Paul Rubin (Aerial Effects Design), Rick Sordelet (Fight Direction), Dawn-Elin Fraser (Dialect Coach), Faye Armon-Troncoso (Props & Set Dressing), Winnie Lok (Production Stage Manager)
Cast: Starla Benford, Jade Eshete, Danaya Esperanza, Niles Fitch, Kambi Gathesha, Brent Jennings, Joaquina Kalukango, Mandi Masden, Irungu Mutu, Owiso Odera, Nneka Okafor, Stacey Sargeant, T. Ryder Smith, Angel Uwamahoro, Bowman Wright
Additional Funders: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater