by Ad de Bont, German Translation by Barbara Buri
Running time: One hour, 20 minutes, no interval
Holland, 2014. Pio Nikuze, whose beloved dad had to flee the civil war in Rwanda 20 years ago, sees himself as a Dutchman and thinks he knows all there is to know about his dad. His Dutch idyll is destroyed when an elderly woman, a Tutsi from Rwanda, tells him of the gruesome deeds his dad apparently committed. Pio disappears and breaks off all contact with him. But Pio’s best friend persuades them to hold a “Gacaca”, a people’s tribunal in the old Rwandan tradition. After all, reconciliation needs the truth.
“Lies” by Ad de Bont is a modern family tragedy and an informative political play. It tells the story of the terrible genocide in Rwanda in a brutally honest way, from the perspective of the victims and the perpetrators. The scenes that take place in the peaceful European present are successively overlaid by traumas of the past. How can a peaceful neighbour turn into a mass murderer? How can the beloved father have been a cruel butcher of human beings? How can you forgive when you can’t forget and have lost everything?
Ad de Bont is one of the most frequently played writers in Europe and his plays are classics of children’s and young people’s drama. He has a long history at the Junges SchauSpielHaus: “Mother Africa” and “The Odyssey” both saw their German premieres here under the direction of Klaus Schumacher. De Bont plays are accurately researched and relentlessly address cruel realities. At the same time they tell archaic stories that touch the audience deeply – and always let a sense of hope shine through.
Photos © Sinje Hasheider