After a brutal civil war in Sierra Leone, a young prosecution witness in the war crimes trial of Charles Taylor at The Hague created, directed, and performed a drama that graphically portrays the trauma she and her fellow survivors experienced during the war. Stepakoff was the psychologist for the Special Court for Sierra Leone—working with victims of severe human rights violations—and an invited guest at the young woman’s performance.
While grassroots theatre brings together perpetrators and survivors of the Rwandan genocide, government-driven campaigns can manipulate theatre for reconciliation to serve its own nationalist agenda. The Mutabaruka company use their performances in Burundi to resurrect/construct the identity of a precolonial Rwanda; the Mashirika theatre focus on reconciling the Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa.
From his rise to power in the mid-’80s to his trial 20 years later, Milošević was the focus of powerful social theatricalities. As a public performance, Milošević’s trial is inseparable from the mass meetings he organized in Serbia between 1987 and 1989; the political drama of the breakdown of Yugoslavia’s federal government; the intense struggles against the opposition fought in the streets; the wars taking place in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo; and finally his own funeral.
The prosecution of Slobodan Milošević at the ICTY in The Hague foregrounded the role of the live courtroom encounter in the forging of narratives of history, truth, and justice. In the case of Milošević and other defendants, the attempt to uncover events that might unambiguously indicate involvement in a criminal enterprise was, and is, picking through a “postmodern” minefield of indeterminacy and doubt.
In May 2002, 119 people were killed in a church in the remote Colombian province of Chocó. The Afro-Colombian communities of Chocó, caught in the middle of a savage armed conflict, are the subject of Felipe Vergara’s new play, Kilele. Kilele toured the river communities on the Atrato River that inspired the play. What is the role and responsibility of the artist who is trying to offer relief and support resistance within a volatile zone of conflict?
From Israel, Liberia, and Iraq, where conflict and war are the rule, come stories about performances and workshops in the tradition of Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed. The author found both strengths and limitations in Forum Theatre.
Fusco’s monologue addresses the role of female interrogators in the War on Terror. The piece is staged as a briefing by an intelligence officer who rationalizes the use of sexual harassment by female interrogators of Islamic fundamentalist detainees.
Behind a blackened window in Kabul, Laila, a widow, seeks solace in sex while earning her living as a prostitute. She and her lover Ash find refuge from the violence, loss, and fear that is their daily lives under the Taliban.
This mockumentary in the form of a self-interview takes a sidelong glance at the role of the artist in Lebanon, a country torn apart by years of civil strife and war.