Rwanda & Juliet



We were in the audience privileged to see the first screening of “Rwanda & Juliet,” a feature/documentary film that hopefully will be released in 2016. In 2013, to mark the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, retired Dartmouth professor Andrew Garrod seeks 20-something Rwandan talent to stage a production of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” as a tale of loss and reconciliation. And, of course, he wants to cast a Hutu as Romeo and a Tutsi as Juliet, or maybe the other way round.

Almost all orphans of the genocide, the cast come to grips with Shakespeare’s language, which they must render in English, French, and Kingali. The cast also comes to grip with their personal histories, intertwined with the history of their country. But perhaps the biggest transformation came over the filmmakers, who started out to make a documentary and ended up making a feature film about the strength of the human spirit.

The young actress who plays Juliet, Tete, steals the show, and it practically becomes her movie. While the other cast members mostly went back to school and jobs, Tete became a professional actress in Rwanda. I suspect we will see her on the world stage before long.

The producers hope to get on the film festival circuit during 2016, and also screen in conjunction with local Shakespeare festivals and theatres. Catch this one if you possibly can.

Phil Neches


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