Dwon Ma Peke

(Silent Voices Acholi)

Play Synopsis

Silent Voices is a powerful poignant war crimes story that mirrors the views and emotions of actual victims of the Northern Uganda war (which do relate in many ways to the victims of the Rwanda genocide and the Kenyan’s post-election violence). It explores how victims have been ignored in the constant calls to “forgive” and “reconcile” at the expense of justice. Through the protagonist, (Mother – a symbolic representation of life and death) Silent Voices examines what good citizens can be driven into by unhealthy policies.

Play Inspiration and Journey

As an Acholi woman born and raised in the region, Silent Voices Playwright ADONG Lucy Judith was one of the young people who walked every evening to spend the night at the infamous Gulu bus park referenced in the viral “KONY 2012” video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4MnpzG5Sqc). Adong attended the high school from which 44 girls were abducted by Joseph Kony and his LRA rebels in 1991 (Sacred Heart Girls Boarding School in Gulu). These horrifying events are deeply personal to her, and yet she was fortunate: due to miracle of a chance, she was able to leave war-ravaged Gulu for college and thereafter work in Kampala. As a result, she knew only the feeling of terror, but was not aware of the bitterness, betrayal and injustice that so many Acholi survivors feel towards local and national government leaders.

In 2006 Adong returned to Gulu and began to interview the men, women and children who survived Kony’s reign of terror. She visited rehabilitation centers for child soldiers in Gulu to study how theater was being used in the psychosocial therapy of the children who filled the ranks of Kony’s army, one of the largest child armies in human history. She also listened to the anger and frustration expressed by victims about the Amnesty Act, which they felt ‘rewarded’ perpetrators for confessing to often heinous crimes. So rather than write a research thesis that would gather dust on the shelves of Makerere University Library, she felt so strongly that these stories – these war-weary yet defiant voices – needed to be heard and witnessed by the world. This is why she wrote Silent Voices. The title isn’t a reference to the people of Northern Uganda, whose voices are powerful, raw and stunning. Rather, it speaks to the repressive silencing these victims feel that their government is forcing on them in the name of forgiveness.”

 

Developed at the Sundance Theater Lab 2010, Silent Voices had its world premiere at the National Theater of Uganda in 2012 funded by STICHTING DOEN (DOEN FOUNDATION). This production brought victims, political, religious and cultural leaders, members of the Amnesty Commission and transitional justice leaders together for critical, transformative conversations about the compensation of victims and the National Peace and Reconciliation Bill. For many in the Kampala audience, the atrocities in Gulu were unfamiliar and shocking. It was stunning to realize that so many in southern Uganda were oblivious to the horrors taking place in the north. The performance was a huge critical success, playing to sold-out audiences.

In 2010 while looking for funding to produce Silent Voices, besides proposing an East African tour of the play due to similar post-conflict challenges the region faces, we also proposed the possibility of an Acholi Voice Over of the video of the play to be shared with the people of Northern Uganda where the stories of the play came from. This was due to budget implication of having to produce the play in Luo Language for it to be able to tour Northern Uganda.

While the performance was a huge critical success, playing to sold-out audiences, few victims had the opportunity to view the play or contribute to this discussion. Unfortunately, we had doubts about the video quality recorded from the 2012 Premiere of the play at Uganda National Theatre.

 

In 2013, we were excited to hear from DOEN Foundation that following the raving accolades the English Production of the play received, they would be open to consider our earlier vision of producing the play in Northern Uganda in Luo Language. So we started to work towards this vision bringing on board Bridgit, a renowned American producer and artivist, who the playwright, Adong Lucy Judith had met in 2011 during the public reading of her play, Just Me, You and THE SILENCE at The New Black Fest.

We envisioned the production of Luo translation of the play as well as a re-run of the English production that only needed a refresher rehearsals. We therefore put together a double production proposal and were pleasant surprised and exited when The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust came aboard joining DOEN Foundation.  

August to October of 2015, Dwon Ma Peke (Silent Voices Acholi Production) Premiered in Gulu to powerful reviews and toured Kitgum, Lira and Kampala where it run back-to-back with the English Production of the play at Uganda National Theatre, making it the first experience of a kind.

This was a true dream come true story! But most powerful of all was the healing opportunity the production provided the people of Northern Uganda. “This isn’t just the work of your hands. This is a calling from God to tell the story of the plight of Acholi people”, renowned Acholi Musician Labongo during a panel discussion about the role of artists in society. It was described as the best recorded history of the Northern Uganda war by far.

As an Acholi woman born and raised in the region, Silent Voices Playwright ADONG Lucy Judith was one of the young people who walked every evening to spend the night at the infamous Gulu bus park referenced in the viral “KONY 2012” video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4MnpzG5Sqc). Adong attended the high school from which 44 girls were abducted by Joseph Kony and his LRA rebels in 1991 (Sacred Heart Girls Boarding School in Gulu). These horrifying events are deeply personal to her, and yet she was fortunate: due to miracle of a chance, she was able to leave war-ravaged Gulu for college and thereafter work in Kampala. As a result, she knew only the feeling of terror, but was not aware of the bitterness, betrayal and injustice that so many Acholi survivors feel towards local and national government leaders.

 

In 2006 Adong returned to Gulu and began to interview the men, women and children who survived Kony’s reign of terror. She visited rehabilitation centers for child soldiers in Gulu to study how theater was being used in the psychosocial therapy of the children who filled the ranks of Kony’s army, one of the largest child armies in human history. She also listened to the anger and frustration expressed by victims about the Amnesty Act, which they felt ‘rewarded’ perpetrators for confessing to often heinous crimes. So rather than write a research thesis that would gather dust on the shelves of Makerere University Library, she felt so strongly that these stories – these war-weary yet defiant voices – needed to be heard and witnessed by the world. This is why she wrote Silent Voices. The title isn’t a reference to the people of Northern Uganda, whose voices are powerful, raw and stunning. Rather, it speaks to the repressive silencing these victims feel that their government is forcing on them in the name of forgiveness.”

 

Developed at the Sundance Theater Lab 2010, Silent Voices had its world premiere at the National Theater of Uganda in 2012 funded by STICHTING DOEN (DOEN FOUNDATION). This production brought victims, political, religious and cultural leaders, members of the Amnesty Commission and transitional justice leaders together for critical, transformative conversations about the compensation of victims and the National Peace and Reconciliation Bill. For many in the Kampala audience, the atrocities in Gulu were unfamiliar and shocking. It was stunning to realize that so many in southern Uganda were oblivious to the horrors taking place in the north. The performance was a huge critical success, playing to sold-out audiences.

Creative Team

ADONG Lucy Judith

 

Director, Playwright & Producer

SSEBAGGALA Andrew Jedidiah

Co-Producer

Apprentices

Cast

ACHIRO P. Orwoch
ACHIRO P. Orwoch

as Stage Manager Apprentice

press to zoom
RWOTOMARA Martin
RWOTOMARA Martin

as Sound Design Apprentice

press to zoom
ATIM Sarah
ATIM Sarah

as Set, Props, Costumes, Apprentice

press to zoom
OOR Beatrice
OOR Beatrice

as Mother

press to zoom
ODONG Denis
ODONG Denis

as Guard 1 / Man

press to zoom
OKOYA Mourris
OKOYA Mourris

as Guard 2 / Boss

press to zoom
AGETTA Francis
AGETTA Francis

as CID / Mediator / LC5 / Judge

press to zoom
OLOYA Julius
OLOYA Julius

Juma/ Journalist/ MP / Court Clerk

press to zoom
OJOP Jackson
OJOP Jackson

as Husband

press to zoom
ANENA Monica
ANENA Monica

as Wife / Prosecutor

press to zoom
ALIMOCAN Jenate
ALIMOCAN Jenate

as Magret

press to zoom
AMONE Patrick
AMONE Patrick

as Omony

press to zoom
OPIYO Charles Savimbi
OPIYO Charles Savimbi

as Bishop / Mother's Lawyer

press to zoom
RUBANGAKENE Deogracious
RUBANGAKENE Deogracious

as Boy 1 aka Commander Man / Boy 4

press to zoom
COO-PE Calvin
COO-PE Calvin

as Kadogo Ninja / Boy 5

press to zoom
OYAT Emmanuel
OYAT Emmanuel

Kadogo Action and Kadogo Smiles

press to zoom
AKELLO Peace
AKELLO Peace

as Girl 1 / Commander Danger Hatari's Wife

press to zoom
AKERA Joshua
AKERA Joshua

as Boy 2 /Kadogo NoJoke

press to zoom
AUMA Harriet
AUMA Harriet

as Girl 2

press to zoom
GUM Perry Prisca
GUM Perry Prisca

as Fiona

press to zoom
APWOYOCAN Inocent
APWOYOCAN Inocent

as Girl 3 / Scovia

press to zoom
APWOYOCAN Sandra
APWOYOCAN Sandra

as Brenda / Girl 4 / Commander Danger Hatari's Wife

press to zoom
AKENA Caesar
AKENA Caesar

as Boy 3 aka Commander Danger Hatari / Child Abductee

press to zoom
AOL Prossy Lagum
AOL Prossy Lagum

as Dancer / Boss' Political Dignitory / Woman

press to zoom
LAKOT Eden
LAKOT Eden

as Dancer / Amal

press to zoom
AKECH Sarah
AKECH Sarah

as Dancer / Brider

press to zoom
ADOCH NANCY
ADOCH NANCY

as Dancer / Waitress / Soldier 3

press to zoom
ODONG Mourris
ODONG Mourris

as Dancer/ Man's Political Dignitary / Groom

press to zoom
AKENA Godfrey
AKENA Godfrey

as Dancer / Neutral Political Dignitary / Man 2

press to zoom
RUBANGAKENE Geofrey
RUBANGAKENE Geofrey

Dancer / Soldier 5

press to zoom
OLARA Ronald
OLARA Ronald

as Dancer / Soldier 2 / Man 1

press to zoom
OPIYO Mark Lalur
OPIYO Mark Lalur

as Dancer / Waiter /Soldier 4

press to zoom
OJOK Richard Boilingson
OJOK Richard Boilingson

as Dancer / Latigo

press to zoom

Crew

KAYA Kajimu
KAYA Kajimu

Stage Manager

press to zoom
AYO Jimmy
AYO Jimmy

Music Director

press to zoom
ABONGA Christopher
ABONGA Christopher

Instrumentalist

press to zoom
IBANDA Grace Flavia
IBANDA Grace Flavia

as Dance Choreographer

press to zoom
WAWUYO Michael
WAWUYO Michael

Set, Props, Costumes, Hair and Make-Up Designer

press to zoom
APIO Stella
APIO Stella

Ass. Costume Tailor

press to zoom
OKELLO Anthony
OKELLO Anthony

Backdrop Projection

press to zoom
SENKUMBA Adnan
SENKUMBA Adnan

Sound Designer

press to zoom
MUGARURA Abraham
MUGARURA Abraham

Cinematographer / Editor

press to zoom
ODONGPINY Richard
ODONGPINY Richard

Production Assistant

press to zoom
OCHEN Geofrey
OCHEN Geofrey

as Kiswahiri Language Coach

press to zoom
AKELLO Gloria
AKELLO Gloria

Production Manager

press to zoom

Press & News

PARTNERS

1 DOEN Logo
1 DOEN Logo
press to zoom
harold and Mini steinberg
harold and Mini steinberg
press to zoom
sundance institute
sundance institute
press to zoom
GULU SSS
GULU SSS
press to zoom
POLICE LOGO primary school
POLICE LOGO primary school
press to zoom
Screenshot (113)
Screenshot (113)
press to zoom
House Of Talent East Africa Ltd- Your One-stop  Entertainment Centre
House Of Talent East Africa Ltd- Your One-stop Entertainment Centre
press to zoom
UNCC LOGO
UNCC LOGO
press to zoom
fountain publishers(1)
fountain publishers(1)
press to zoom
binen
binen
press to zoom
Screenshot (111)
Screenshot (111)
press to zoom
Screenshot (114)
Screenshot (114)
press to zoom
Screenshot (112)
Screenshot (112)
press to zoom