Soulographie: Our Genocides, Erik Ehn’s cycle of 17 of his plays, will be performed at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in New York from November 11-18, 2012. The events at Brown and in Providence feature plays in Soulographie: Yermedea, directed by Brown Faculty, Kym Moore, and open rehearsals of Maria Kizito, directed by Emily Mendelsohn from Uganda. Events begin September 20th with Yermedea at Leeds Theatre and continue the weekend of September 29 with All That Rises at McCormack Family Theater.
Professor Erik Ehn, Head of Writing for Performance in Brown’s Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies has organized a series of events at Brown and at 95 Empire Street in Providence that coincides with performances of 17 of his plays at La MaMa in New York. The cycle of plays is called Soulographie: Our Genocides, and is about 20th century genocides as they are perceived and understood in the US. Ehn’s scripts have been evolving for 20 years, and the Soulographie ensemble has been in intense workshop since 2010. “This production brings us all to a place we have never quite been before,” says Ehn. Soulographie is a durational performance event looking at 20th century America’s relationships to genocides in the U.S. (the Tulsa Race Riot), East Africa (Rwanda and Uganda), and Central America (Guatemala and El Salvador). The performances aim to create channels of dialogue through art and conversation. “Genocide is the violation of history,” states Ehn. “Killing is not its sole or even ultimate aim - it wants to destroy a culture in ways so florid, so shaming on all sides, that the identity of a people can't cohere even in recollection. Culture workers participate in genocide; it will take the witness of cultural workers to help in healing. These plays do not offer programmatic solutions, or uninterrupted streams of information. Their purpose is more basic: to accept and be with the reality of genocide from various perspectives - geographic, temporal, class, victim, perpetrator, bystander.”