IN DARFUR PRESS
March 31–April 18, 2010
By Winter Miller
Directed by Derek Goldman
Based on true events, this impeccably researched chronicle of the unfolding genocide in Sudan is a searing story of humanitarian urgency and compromised journalistic ethics. Can one woman's story stand for the plight of a nation? And what are the costs of mobilizing world opinion?
'In Darfur' focuses on what grows in scorched earth
By: Barbara Mackay
Special to The Examiner
April 6, 2010
Most of us probably can't quote the United Nations' detailed definition of genocide, but we all know what it is. And we know that "genocide" -- with its references to destruction, politics, race and religion -- is a huge concept to comprehend, let alone transform into a play.
Yet that is what Winter Miller has done with "In Darfur," at Theater J. The play begins in a refugee camp in Darfur, a large region in western Sudan, where a young American doctor, Carlos (Lucas Beck), encounters a young woman, Hawa (Erika Rose). She has been raped by a gang of Janjaweed, the government-backed militia of Arab nomads, that has also killed her husband and destroyed all the homes in her village. CONTINUE READING
Washington City Paper
Arts & Entertainment : Theater Review
By Winter Miller; Directed by Derek Goldman
At Theater J, a chilling take on rape
By Chris Klimek on April 9, 2010
Requiem Darfur a Dream: Miller’s play is a memorial—and a mystery. Winter Miller’s In Darfur is one of those plays that seems at least obliquely to chronicle its own creation, like Moises Kaufman’s 33 Variations or Doug Wright’s I Am My Own Wife. In seeking to compress an unfathomable tragedy into a tellable story, Miller transfers her own pedagogical burden onto one of her three major characters: New York Times reporter Maryka (Rahaleh Nassri) has only days to turn up evidence of a genocide campaign backed by the Sudanese government before her editor reassigns her to a story with more established news value. “Are these good rebels or bad rebels?” Maryka’s editor wants to know, inquiring after the Sudan Liberation Movement. “They’re not great,” Maryka says. The difficulty of untangling the warring factions for Westerners hardens the Times’ reluctance. But Maryka has lucked into the ideal ambassador in Hawa, a teacher whose command of English gives her the ability to personalize the story for readers Maryka hopes will pressure their governments to act if she can get Darfur onto page one. CONTINUE READING
Washington Jewish Week
4/7/2010 8:59:00 PM
'In Darfur,' a genocide story
by Lisa Traiger
The "Save Darfur" banners that hang in front of many synagogues have faded and drooped. The insatiable news cycle has long since moved on to another crisis du jour: Afghanistan, Haiti, health care, a congressional sex scandal.
But catastrophe in Sudan rages on. Attacks by various mercenary and military forces on the ground may have ceased, but life there remains grueling with tens of thousands of displaced Sudanese living in refugee camps where surviving the arduous conditions ‹ lack of the most basic necessities like food, sanitation, basic health care ‹ amounts to daily living.
Theater J has long made a point of producing thought-provoking, politically engaged works, and In Darfur ‹ playwright and journalist Winter Miller's 100-minute flashback on the early revelations of genocide in the east African nation ‹ is no exception. Finely directed by Derek Goldman, the one-act play unravels in spring 2004 as a reporter tries to verify facts on the ground to confirm genocide in Sudan for her demanding editor.
Featuring two Americans out of their element in the midst of the unfolding military and humanitarian crisis, the play wrestles with essential moral quandaries: racial, tribal and ethnic infighting among the Sudanese; white Western colonialism and its still-present aftereffects; who gets saved and who sacrificed in the chaos of war and escape; and should one life be lost in the hopes of improving many others? CONTINUE READING
DC THEATRE SCENE
April 6, 2010 by Debbie Jackson
Filed under Features, Our Reviews
No doubt about it. In Darfur is not an easy piece to watch. That’s to be expected. The “news” from that part of the world is not new. So brace for scenes and stories depicting the horrific violence perpetrated on masses of people in Sudan, the brutality, the degradation, the savagery that hit the mainstream press in bits and incomprehensible pieces over the years.
Brace yourself, yet dare to look at this theatrical account to experience the moments close up from the personal perspectives of its characters, brought to us here with unflinching performances, honoring a carefully crafted new script by Winter Miller and ferociously directed by Georgetown’s own, Derek Goldman.
The story is told from the points of view of several key characters—an aide worker, a New York Times reporter and Hawa, an African Dafuri woman, a fictional composite of several stories that Miller heard while serving as a researcher in the field. And that’s the crux of why the story’s tone works as well as it does– it is anchored in a journalist’s desperate need to tell the story. Maryka, played with dispassionate cool by Rahaleh Nassri, must grapple with the age old ethical dilemma of whether to reveal her source to get an article published. The script makes very clear that Maryka is not unscrupulous or ill-intended. CONTINUE READING
WE LOVE DC
We Love Arts: In Darfur
By Jenn Larsen, 1:07 pm April 6th, 2010
“Plays like this make me so grateful I was born at the time and place I was,” my friend says as we exit Theater J Saturday night. We’d just seen In Darfur by Winter Miller, and as a Western woman who’d spent the day shopping for frivolities, I felt the cold twist of shame in my stomach. But this isn’t a preachy production. Its simplicity provides the horror, and it’s truthful. These things happen. We ignore them. Then we see a simulation of a woman’s legs being cracked apart like a wishbone, and our silence feels culpable.
This is a hard sell, no denying it, but I urge you to go see In Darfur, playing now through April 18. The play is inspired by Miller’s own trip to refugee camps along the Chad-Sudan border, in the company of Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times. Strangely, its flaws have to do with that prism of experience, as the two Westerners who serve as our entre to this world – an American journalist and an Argentinian aid worker – are simply not as compelling as the Africans they encounter. But I still urge you to see it, for Erika Rose’s central performance as Darfuri refugee Hawa is absolutely riveting. CONTINUE READING
Peter Marks reviews 'In Darfur' at Theater J
By Peter Marks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
For what feels like the longest time, you wait for a telltale tingling sensation during "In Darfur," Winter Miller's sober, rather prosaic drama about the Sudanese civil war. And then at last, the lights on Theater J's stage form a halo around Erika Rose, playing a Darfuri Muslim whose family has been systematically slaughtered, and your pulse begins to quicken.
It's Hawa's appalling testimony, the story of finding the broken bodies of her husband and son, that finally shoots some electricity into the solemn advance of the plot, an attempt to dramatize the journalistic complexities of telling the story of an African conflict in a way that would make the West stop and listen.
With her hauntingly expressive eyes, Rose cuts a warmly embraceable figure as Hawa, an educated woman who survives other atrocities at the hands of the government-backed militia. If only the production's richness extended beyond her presence. The other principal characters, an anguished refugee camp doctor (Lucas Beck) and an impatient New York Times correspondent (Rahaleh Nassri), adhere less affectingly to the formulaic strictures of this consciousness-raising genre. CONTINUE READING
“Arlington Weekly News TV”
THEATER J - - “In Darfur”
Theater J doesn’t do “Hello Dolly” type shows or other non-thinking productions. This has never been truer than today with its current show, “In Darfur,” by New York Times writer Winter Miller. She tells the gripping and horrible true story of conditions in Darfur where rape and the slaughter of men, women and children are ongoing against the non-Arab tribes. It’s a riveting depiction directed by Derek Goldman. You may feel a bit sqeamish to see just a slice of this true story about Miller’s experiences in Sudan and her efforts to get the word out to the rest of the world through the New York Times in mid-2000. CONTINUE READING
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