Koffi Kwahulé, winner of the 1999 UNESCO MASA Prize and the 1992 Great International Prize of the Dramatists of the World, will present his chilling new play at the Berkshire Theatre Festival's Unicorn Theatre August 29- September 2. Misterioso-119 tells the story of five female prisoners united in their victimization by a society that has rejected their love. The women and their drama therapist act out a psychological drama in which affection is replaced by destruction. Misterioso-119 is a collaborative workshop with The Lark Theatre Company of New York City.
An actor, writer, and director, Koffi Kwahulé was born in 1956 in Africa's Ivory Coast. He studied at some of the finest institutions in Paris, including L'École de la Rue Blanche and the Sorbonne Nouvelle, where he earned his doctorate in Theatre Studies. A prolific writer, Kwahulé has penned more than twenty plays since his career started in 1977 with The Large Snake. In 1993, Kwahulé exploded onto the international drama scene with his award-winning Cette vieille magie noire [This Old Black Magic]. Kwahule has received prizes from UNESCO, SACD, and RFI for works such as La dame du café d'en face [The Lady of the Coffee Opposite] (SACD-RFI Prize '94), and Village fou ou Les déconnards [Insane Village, or déconnards] (UNESCO MASA Prize '99 in Abidjan). His plays have been performed in cities worldwide, including Rome, New York, Bordeaux, and Avignon, and have been translated into several languages.
In his work, Kwahulé often explores questions of identity, nationhood, victimization, and art. He is especially concerned with the process of creating a fiction that is neither separate from nor defined by his African origin. At a round-table discussion at the Université de Rennes, Kwahulé said of his work:
"I would say that my theatre...isn't political in the stories it tells, or in its themes, but in its approach of making all definition of what people call Africanity complex, or even impossible...And what interests me when I write is the hope that people will wonder where the African is in all that. It is in that respect that my theatre is political."
In breaking down generalized notions of what he calls "Africanity," Koffi Kwahulé has remained at the international forefront of drama and education.
For more information about Act French call 413-298-5576 after May 26. Tickets are $20 general admission, and include a wine tasting and discussion after each reading. Main Stage and Unicorn subscribers should call for a complimentary ticket to the performance of their choice.
Box Office Hours: Monday-Saturday 10:30am-7:00pm
Group Sales Number (25+): 413-298-5536 Ext 33
Appropriate For Ages: 17+
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