restricted access Staging "Islam": Sefi Atta's Hagel auf Zamfara [The Sentence] at the Theater Krefeld/Mönchengladbach
Abstract

ABSTRACT:

In October 2011 the Theater Krefeld/Mönchengladbach, Germany, staged the worldwide premiere of Sefi Atta's play The Sentence in a German translation entitled Hagel auf Zamfara. Drawing on judicial sentences of death-by-stoning in North Nigeria in the early 2000s, Hagel auf Zamfara recounts the story of an unnamed Muslim woman unjustly sentenced to death for adultery. As the play progresses, the protagonist not only becomes a symbol of perceived injustice for the Nigerian and international media, it also transpires that the woman has been interpellated, and actively participates, in a system based on gender inequality and religious bigotry. Drawing on both the dramatic and the theatrical text of the play, this article examines different dimensions of "Islam" as contained, imagined, and staged in Hagel auf Zamfara; it also pays attention to gendered roles, violence, perceptions of justice, and the role of fantasy. Aimed at a largely secular, white, middle-class audience at a German Stadttheater, the production rejected an oversimplified, one-sided staging of "Islam" as "menace" (Said xx), but instead allowed for multiple viewpoints to be expressed in all their contradiction and ambiguity.


pdf