MIRACLE IN RWANDA

Written by Leslie Malaika Lewis and Edward Vilga

Performance by Malaika Uwamahoro


Building Bridges with Rwanda is proud to support the promotion of Miracle in Rwanda as a commemoration of the 27th annual remembrance of the genocide against the Tutsis.


The play is an uplifting message of forgiveness and compassion based on the life of New York Times bestselling author of Left To Tell, Immaculée Ilibagiza. Acclaimed Rwandan actor, singer, poet and social justice activist stars in this production of the one-woman play. It is directed by Steven Wilson.


The one-woman play is about much more than just the details of this dark period in time of Rwandan history. It is a play about Immaculée Ilibagiza, a 24-year-old woman who hid in a tiny bathroom with seven other women for 91 days, surviving the unprecedented onslaught of rape and murder that overcame the country in the spring of 1994. This real-life story of faith and survival is one of personal empowerment, of overcoming all obstacles through the power of faith, and ultimately finding peace of mind amidst unbelievable hardship.


Immaculée was able to survive the genocide through prayer and her dedication to her faith that kept her afloat in the most trying of times. Through this faith she was able to walk away with the power of forgiveness.


“The true story of Miracle in Rwanda for Genocide Awareness Month in April enables the partnership between Prime Stage Theatre and The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh to enlighten, educate and inspire more people of all ages through theatre, literature and the arts with this story of survival, hope and faith,” said Wayne Brinda, Prime Stage Theatre Producing Artistic Director.


Music for the production will be provided by Rwanda’s singer/songwriter Teta Diana. She was born in Nairobi, Kenya and returned to Rwanda after the genocide of 1994. She blends her native language Kinyarwanda with English and Swahili to create traditional music closely tied to Rwandan identity. She has performed at various cultural events in Rwanda and abroad. In 2013, she joined Art for Peace Association that aimed at creating a safe space for Rwandan youth to speak about their experience reflect on Rwanda’s history and forge a renewed sense of belonging.


This program was made possible thanks to generous support from Jewish Women’s Foundation of Pittsburgh.


TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets and registrations: https://hcofpgh.org/rwanda

Opening night will feature a talkback after the performance with Malaika Uwamahoro and Immaculée Llibagiza, hosted by Dr. Lauren Bairnsfather, Director of the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh.


Opening Night Performance and Talkback

Opening Night including Talkback: Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 8 PM $25

Talkback Only: Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 9:20 PM $5


Recorded Link 24-hour Access Pass April 16-26, 2021 $10

Audio Description and Closed Caption are available with recorded links

Classroom Registration for Student Matinees:


https://www.eventbrite.com/e/miracle-in-rwanda-student-matinee-tickets-145897185409

Group Tickets: Contact Jackie Reese at jreese@hcpgh.org

onslaught of rape and murder that overcame the country in the spring of 1994. This real-life story of faith and survival is one of personal empowerment, of overcoming all obstacles through the power of faith, and ultimately finding peace of mind amidst unbelievable hardship. Immaculée was able to survive the genocide through prayer and her dedication to her faith that kept her afloat in the most trying of times. Through this faith she was able to walk away with the power of forgiveness.


“What inspires me to be performing in this play, is the fact that I am a Rwandan, applying my voice, skills, culture and history to bring a Rwandan story to life on stage. Finding ways in the arts to tell stories through theatre, film, music, dance, lighting, writing, set and sound design are really powerful platforms for stories like Immaculee Ilibagiza's,” said Malaika Uwamahoro, Actor, “Art is not only entertaining and captivating it can also be immersive, educational, transformational and inspire healing. I am very inspired to be performing this play and use my artistic skills to tell a story that is close to my history and heart. I hope people in the audience get to learn more about what happened during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.”


Immaculée tells the story of the first time the killers came looking for them and how it felt as if their knives and machetes were already cutting her although she was safely hidden. After they left, she could feel physical pain. She realized that her thoughts were killing her before the killers ever did.


While these murders went on, Immaculée survived by praying the rosary incessantly in every waking moment. She made that room into a monk’s cell. She finally overcame her inability to forgive her family’s murderers through a spiritual transformation that can only be described as miraculous. She found peace in herself without any of her external circumstances changing. She was not able to get out of the room, but she could get out of the prison in her mind.


“It truly is an honor to have the opportunity to collaborate with Malaika to help tell this important story. Personally, I had a surface knowledge of the genocide against the Tutsi people in Rwanda. The opportunity to do a deeper dive, having to research the details and learn from Malaika is a rare gift that being a theatre professional offers,” said Steven Wilson, Director, “This is a story about faith, hope and forgiveness. It is a reminder that forgiveness is just as important to the well-being of the person forgiving as the person being forgiven. Malaika Uwamahoro is one of the most gifted performers I have ever had the pleasure of collaborating with. She plays a bunch of different characters in this play and flows seamlessly from one to the next. This play is an extreme workout for a performer and Malaika makes it look easy. My role is to make sure that Malaika has everything she needs to craft her performance. I also serve as the bridge between performer and audience. This play represents a small window of the larger tragedy that took place in Rwanda and my hope is that audiences will want to dig deeper and educate themselves more about this history.”

We are haunted by the stories and images of too many mass atrocities. Remembrance is very important. We owe it to the victims and their families. Teaching younger generations about genocide is challenging, but it is a moral duty.


“The true story of Miracle in Rwanda for Genocide Awareness Month in April enables the partnership between Prime Stage Theatre and The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh to enlighten, educate and inspire more people of all ages through theatre, literature and the arts with this story of survival, hope and faith,” said Wayne Brinda, Prime Stage Theatre Producing Artistic Director.


Music for the production will be provided by Rwanda’s singer/songwriter Teta Diana. She was born in Nairobi, Kenya and returned to Rwanda after the genocide of 1994. She blends her native language Kinyarwanda with English and Swahili to create traditional music closely tied to Rwandan identity. She has performed at various cultural events in Rwanda and abroad. In 2013, she joined Art for Peace Association that aimed at creating a safe space for Rwandan youth to speak about their experience reflect on Rwanda’s history and forge a renewed sense of belonging.


This program was made possible thanks to generous support from Jewish Women’s Foundation of Pittsburgh.

TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets and registrations: https://hcofpgh.org/rwanda

Opening night will feature a talkback after the performance with Malaika Uwamahoro and Immaculée Llibagiza, hosted by Dr. Lauren Bairnsfather, Director of the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh.

Opening Night Performance and Talkback

  • Opening Night including Talkback: Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 8 PM $25

  • Talkback Only: Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 9:20 PM $5


Recorded Link 24-hour Access Pass April 16-26, 2021 $10

Audio Description and Closed Caption are available with recorded links

Classroom Registration for Student Matinees:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/miracle-in-rwanda-student-matinee-tickets-145897185409

Group Tickets: Contact Jackie Reese at jreese@hcpgh.org

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