Afrocentric Theatre, Music, Culture and Business

Our Lady of Kibeho (Play Review) Our Lady of Kibeho (Play Review)
Our Lady of Kibeho (Play Review)

The apparition of Mary, also known as Our Lady has appeared in over 40 countries all over the world. It is said that she appears when she’s most needed with a message and guidance to the specific problems and suffering at hand.


In 1981 three girls from Kibeho College, Rwanda reported seeing visions of Our Lady, giving them warning of an apocalyptic event they were initially shunned and ridiculed by their community, this is their story.


When playwright Katori Hall (The Mountaintop) undertook ‘Our Lady of Kibeho’ her vision was not only to touch on the political, social and economic issues of the day but also to shed light on religion can have a devastating impact on the personal and political behaviour of a nation.


When Alphonsine, the outcast of a group of girls been educated at the Catholic Kihebo College she is ridiculed mercilessly by her peers and remonstrated severely by Sister Evangelique. Only Father thinks her story is plausible.


It is only when two other girls, the much put upon Anathalie the feisty and initially deeply sceptical Marie-Claire not only witness the vision but experience it through floating objects and a bright light that bathes the whole community is she believed.


The villagers are excited and begin to exploit this miracle for their own economic benefits. The Church is finally forced to bring in cynical Father Flavia (Michael Mears) to investigate.


After putting Alphonsine through a series of physical and psychological tests and being told of personal and religious facts that would have been impossible for her to have known, he’s not only convinced visitations are true but that the country must heed the warnings of the impending horrors. Sadly these warnings are ignored and catastrophic genocide ensues.


Praiseworthy is Taz Munya is as the constantly harassed Tutsi outsider Alphonsine. Trying desperately to assert herself against the overwhelming Hutu vitriol that she faces on an everyday basis. Her struggle a metaphor for the impending tragedy that was to befall the country.


Pepter Lun Kuse performance as the fiery and confrontational Marie-Clare is the standout character of the production. She manages to exude strength, streaks of feminism and mischievousness all at the same time.


Also first-rate was Michelle Asante as the ever scheming and ambitious Sister Evangelique, who in a recent interview about the play saida “I hope the production will open up conversations about faith, the voice of young people especially young females and perceptions of Africa then and now. There is a lot to be said about how we dismiss certain voices or cut out certain people from important conversations.”


With some absolutely amazing singing from a truly talented cast and a stunning set design by Jonathan that evokes a sense of the reputed the natural beauty of Rwanda, this show surely has to be one of the hottest tickets in town.


Till-2 Nov, Our Lady of Kibeho, Theatre Royal Stratford, E15 1BN, Tickets and details: https://ebonyonline.net/event/our-lady-of-kibeho/

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