The Book of life

A Volcano production in association with the woman cultural centre, rwanda and Why Not Theatre

Canadian Premiere - Canadian Stage
Marilyn and Charles Baillie Theatre
September 17 - 29, 2019

The Story

“I want to archive life.”

What makes humans go to the edge of the abyss, and then step in? In Rwanda, in April of 1994, one million people were murdered in 100 days. A country devoured itself. The rivers literally ran with bodies. As has happened too many times in human history, something terrible turned in the collective unconscious of a people, and the unthinkable was suddenly commonplace. 

But then what? What happens next – after the worst thing?

In Kiki Katese’s new project, The Book of Life, she leads an audience through a remarkable journey – a kind of how-to guide to rebuild a deep understanding of life in the aftermath of incalculable loss. Kiki writes:

“We still have the possibility of undoing the genocide in some small way, to bridge the hole that’s been left, not with bones or the clothes they wore when they died – but with their lives. The dinners. The lovers. The dates. The joy. How do we undo the undo-able? We let them live again.”

The play is based on Kiki’s years-long project of accumulating letters written by survivors and perpetrators of Rwanda’s genocide, ordinary people, addressed to those who are gone. It is infused with original music performed and sung by the internationally acclaimed Women Drummers of Rwanda.

At a time when our world is racked with disharmonies, hatreds and struggle, The Book of Life offers hope: unlocking life after trauma, and finding a humane way forward full of joy.

Our Team