Come April 8 2012, one day after the official commemoration ceremony of the genocide in Rwanda, a bilingual, bicultural version the performance ‘Breaking the Silence’ will begin its tour throughout Rwanda starting with a show at Ishyo Art Centre in Kigali.
The play – written and directed by Dutch director Annemarie Prins in 2009 and produced by Amrita Performing Arts in Phnom Penh – shows the effects of genocide on the daily life in nowadays Cambodia. The new version, now in process, aims to reach a vast Rwandese audience and will be performed by a mixed cast of Cambodian and Rwandese actors.
Breaking the Silence in Cambodia
In Cambodia the Pol Pot era is still an open wound, but also a silenced period. On stage: four actors who were at the age of ten when the Khmer Rouge hunted their families out of Phnom Penh and three representatives of the next generation: a singer, a musician, a dancer.
‘Breaking the Silence’ has made two tours on a mobile stage through the provinces of Cambodia, reaching thousands of farmers and villagers.
Breaking the Silence in Rwanda
La Benevolencija, the NGO which arms the population of the Great Lake District (Rwanda, Burundi en Congo) against ‘hate speech’ and produces the popular radio soap Musekeweya, is hosting ‘Breaking the Silence’ in Rwanda.
Rehearsals are underway. Two Rwandese actors will bridge the language- and information gap between performance and audience in the local language, Kinyarwanda. Despite the enormous differences in duration and type of genocide in Rwanda and Cambodia, the effects are similar. Just to name some: feelings of ‘survivors’ guilt’, of loneliness, shame and isolation.
‘Breaking the Silence’ will be performed indoors in three cities in Rwanda. The huge network of grass root groups of La Benevolencija will guarantee the performance will also reach the villagers. Like in Cambodia, each performance will be followed by an open discussion with the audience. Rwanda TV will record and broadcast the performance.
Breaking the Silence in Rwanda is supported by Prince Claus Fund; Open Society Foundation, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Kigali, Goethe-Institut and private sponsors.