Synopsis (6M 3W)
The Heliopause is set just before, during and after the 1994 atrocities committed by neighbor against neighbor in the name of ethnic and political differences in Rwanda. The play focuses on one Tutsi family as they struggle to survive the genocide erupting around them. A political dissident, Bertrand Sibomana, having been separated from his wife and children, wishes to return to them as the violence begins. His wife and oldest son, meanwhile, must decide whether to flee or stay in the capital city, Kigali, to wait for his return.
Additionally, the play takes on the wider conflict and addresses questions about the persistence of life and whether forgiveness is possible under the most dire circumstances. The play is not a literal interpretation of the events, rather it is meant to capture the universal significance of this historic tragedy.
The Heliopause was commissioned by The Alliance Theatre (Atlanta) in association with Amherst College (MA), and received its premiere reading at Primary Stages (NY). The play was nominated for the Kesselring Prize administered by the National Arts Club, and was a finalist for the Princess Grace Fellowship administered by New Dramatists. It has also received readings at the Talawa Theatre (London), the Actor's Gang Ivy Substation (LA), and The New Group (NY). A short version of The Heliopause was a finalist for the Heideman Award at the Actor's Theatre of Louisville, and was produced at StageWorks (NY), the Link Theatre (LA), and the American Globe Theatre (NY), among others. In addition, the short play was published by the Guthrie Theatre in The Best Ten-Minute Plays for 2 Actors, 2004, ed. Michael Bigelow Dixon and Liz Engelman (Hanover, NH: Smith and Kraus, Inc., 2004).