MOXIE’s production of OUR LADY of KIBEHO boasts an impressively large cast of 16. Katori Hall’s play is inspired by the true events that happened in Kibeho, Rwanda starting in 1981 when three young Rwandan women claimed to be having visions of the Virgin Mary. The play explores the girls experiences and reactions of the people both inside and outside of their school while allowing the audience to make up their own mind about the truth surrounding the incredible events. MOXIE’s production of the play has an incredible team of actors who portray the villagers but also help make the special effects happen from behind the scenes (but we can’t give more than that away.) Without these incredible actors, the world of Kibeho would seem much smaller and the audience would laugh and gasp a whole lot less. Meet the Village.
Imahni King: When I saw a production of “Beauty and the Beast” at San Diego Junior Theater, I immediately fell in love with the stage. Since then, I’ve always been a performer.
Kimmy King: I got started in theater informally through my amateur live music career. Through the 80’s and 90’s to play in JKGhetto, Development of Souls and Tribe of Judah, so I spent a lot of time on stage developing a comfort ability with audiences. Then, when my children began enjoying participation in school theater presentations and junior theater, I took on the role of theater mom-a lot of backstage work. I fell in love with theater from backstage; watching the whole production become whole from the green room and the costume loft was a delightful courtship. I took a position as a music director for the Visual and Performing Arts program in the school district where I teach sixth grade, and found that it came with quite a bit of directorial responsibility, so I started an MA program in theater arts at SDSU!
John Brooks: When I was in Jr High, I played in the school’s orchestra and we put on an annual joint production with the drama department. “Peter Pan” was the first and I recalling watching the actors during rehearsal, wishing I was up on stage.
Taylor Mumin: I did my first show in fifth grade (Little Red Riding Hood) and I fell in love with performing. I took a break during middle school because my school didn’t have a program, but once high school began I dove right back in and haven’t stopped since then.
Durwood Murray: I got started in theatre in Junior High School. I needed to pick a second elective class after Home Ec (because, food), and was clueless. I asked my mom her opinion. She suggested Speech and Drama-she just had a feeling I’d be good at it. In my first play I played a character that had a girlfriend. At age 12, that hooked me for life.
What have you been in recently that people in San Diego may have seen you in?
Imahni King: “Ragtime” at the Speckles Theater. Critics and and people from all around California came down to see the production.
John Brooks: Absolutely nothing! I returned to music, after retiring from government service.
Taylor Mumin: Our Lady of Kibeho is my first show in San Diego, but I have done a few shows with Act 1 Theater Arts in Temecula. (RENT, Little Shop of Horrors and All Shook Up The Musical).
Durwood Murray: Recently in San Diego, I’ve appeared in A Civil War Christmas with Diversionary Theatre as well as To Kill a Mockingbird with New Village Arts Theatre.
Imahni King: I had no idea that this event happened. Believe or not, I had actually not been so thoroughly educated on the genocide before I heard about the audition.
Kimmy King: I hadn’t heard about Kibeho before this show, but I’ve done a bit of youtube research on it lately-fascinating!
John Brooks: No, I was not aware of the events at Kibeho. Fascinating story, however!
Taylor Mumin: Not at all. I was familiar with the genocide, but these preceding events that we see in the play I was not familiar with at all.
Durwood Murray: I had a vague familiarity with these events, but doing this show has been an incredible learning experience. There was so much to take in.
What do you think will be most challenging in working on this play?
Imahni King: I think that the most challenging part of being in this production is going to be staying in character while keeping a believeable Rwandan accent
Kimmy King: The Rwandan accent work seems like it will be challenging.
John Brooks: Keeping it together and complementing the others work will be my greatest challenge.
Taylor Mumin: The most challenging thing will probably be making sure that all the small moments that drive the show stay strong throughout the run. There are so many big moments that keeping the smaller ones strong and powerful could possibly be a challenge.
Durwood Murray: The most challenging aspect of working on this play has been the dialect work. I studied dialects in college as a theatre major, but nothing even close to the Rwandan accent. A lot of the words have such an unnatural feeling in my mouth.
Imahni King: The full knowledge of this event. I want them to be far more educated about the event than I was previously.
Kimmy King: After seeing the show, I hope people will take away a heightened sense of awareness and respect for the beliefs of others that are not necessarily understood or controlled. I hope that awareness engenders a desire to know more about the peoples of the world and a realization of how small our world is.
John Brooks: The take away for me in reading the script was: listen to your inner voice and do not dismiss that which you do not understand. I hope that audiences will feel the same way after experiencing this Moxie production.
Taylor Mumin: I hope the audience walks away wanting to look into these events and further their knowledge of what happened in Rwanda. It’s a powerful and devastating series of events and I hope that our show sparks a desire in our audiences to learn more about what happened.
Durwood Murray: I hope that after seeing this show the audience finds a way to hold on to their beliefs, but also find a way to question them, allow themselves to see other and opposing perspectives.
You can see the villagers in OUR LADY OF KIBEHO playing through May, 29, 2016 at MOXIE Theatre. Tickets available at http://www.moxietheatre.com or call 858-598-7620 for tickets