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Maria Kazito

a New Play
by Erik Ehn

VENUE : 7 Stages [WEBSITE]
ID# 1072

SHOWING : September 30, 2004 - October 24, 2004



If theatre is an examination of what it means to be human, what do you do when an incident can only be described as inhuman? In this world premiere by Erik Ehn, dance, music, poetry and imagery combine to attempt coming to terms with the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, and the complicity of two nuns in the deaths of thousands.

Director Del Hamilton
Maria Kazito Crystal A. Dickinson
Cast Johnell Easter
Cast Yvonne Singh
Cast Laurie Strickland
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


It's Only Death
by Dedalus
Thursday, October 14, 2004
If theatre is an examination of what it means to be human, how do you stage an examination of what can only be described as inhuman actions?

The facts are basic, and readily available. In April of 1994, a genocide occurred in the African country of Rwanda. For over a hundred days, the majority ethnic Hutus systematically slaughtered ethnic Tutsis. In 2001, two nuns were tried and convicted in Belgium for aiding and abetting the slaughter, turning over those who had come to them for sanctuary, and even providing gasoline for the killers to burn those hiding in a garage.

Itís seems to be a sobering facet of human nature that at some point, numbers no longer matter. Itís only death. Listing the numbers, the statistics, begins to numb to the point where itís easier to ignore than to contemplate the true horror. For example, for every one of those hundred days, more people were killed between breakfast and lunch, than died on September 11. Does it matter? Itís only death. I wager few, if any of us, even know any of their names. Itís only death.

Erik Ehnís ďMaria Kazito,Ē currently at 7 Stages, takes an impressionistic approach. The actors are more symbol than character, but symbol rooted in character. The language is more poetry than prose, but poetry rooted in the music of language and suffering. Through a non-sequential series of sketches, songs, prayers, dances and poems, Ehn and 7 Stages attempt to come to terms with what happen; not to tell us or show us what happened Ė that would only numb Ė but to arouse in us the true horror of what happened, to strike at the core of humanity that lives or should live in those who participated in, and those of us who turned away from, the atrocity.

Rubber Mats with chalk outlines multiply to hint at the death.

A man embraces a woman like a lover as he pours gasoline over her.

The nuns dance with machetes in an orgy of complicity.

A white christening dress is pulled from a pitcher of milk and joins the bodies.

Fire becomes a character and intertwines erotically with another victim.

A victim calmly describes her children being cut down, as well as her own death, stabbed by a stroke that also kills the infant she holds.

Another victim describes wanting, out of mercy, to kill an infant suckling at its dead motherís breast. She couldnít. It was only death.

The nuns calmly discuss buying postcards and espresso while standing in an airport, staged as a field of the dead.

The chalk-outline mats are reversed, blending back into the stage, just as the blood and bodies turned back into earth, rendering the land, and the conscience of humanity, clean again.

Fluids of all kinds Ė water, milk, beer, vomit, gasoline Ė are spilled on the stage. But no blood. At some point, it becomes no longer necessary.

This is the only way to tell this story.

What does it say about humanity, when there are no biological, cultural, religious, or language differences between the two ďethnicitiesĒ in conflict? It doesn't matter -- Itís only death.

What does it say about humanity, when faith is the excuse for the nunís complicity? It doesn't matter -- Itís only death.

What does it say about humanity, when, a mere 10 years after this, it is happening again in Sudan, and we argue about the semantics of calling it ďgenocide?Ē It doesn't matter -- Itís only death.

I saw this play the same day our presidential candidates met for their third debate. This election has been characterized by the sacrifice of truth and leadership on the altar of ideology. It has been characterized by fear-mongering from both sides, by reminding us that terrorists want only to hate and kill.

They neednít bother.

It is, after all, only death.

-- Brad Rudy (



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