NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 16: Actor Niles Fitch attends “Our Lady Of Kibeho” Opening Night at Signature Theatre Companys Pershing Square Signature Center on November 16, 2014, in New York City. (Photo by Ben Hider/Getty Images)
Our Lady of Kibeho
“Transfixing . . . has the gripping intensity of a thriller . . . Hall has an assured sense of dramatic pacing, an ability to evoke a foreign culture with vivid specificity, and an unusual affinity for subject matter that blends history and mystery . . . Directed with equal measures of sensitivity and theatrical flair by Michael Greif . . . The acting is across-the-board superb.” Charles Isherwood, The New York Times The most important new play of the year to date . . . A tightly written play that places a chokehold on your attention right from the opening line. . . . Part of what makes “Our Lady of Kibeho” so impressive is that Ms. Hall circumvents all kinds of possible dramaturgical pitfalls along the way. . , . The play has a political background, one that [Hall] sketches with crisp efficiency—but “Our Lady of Kibeho” never turns into a rant. . . . The most interesting performance is, not surprisingly, elicited by the most interesting character. Father Flavia (T. Ryder Smith) is an investigative priest dispatched from Rome by the Holy See to determine whether [the girls] are anything more than hysterical teenagers. Having exposed a few too many phony miracles for his soul’s good, he has become a doubter in spite of himself . . . Mr. Smith gets him so right that you’ll be thrilled by the soft-spoken subtlety of his impersonation. . . . One hell of an exciting show.” Terry Teachout, The Wall Street Journal “Katori Hall is emerging as a major American voice . . . With the support of Michael Grief, she has produced a show which balances the poetic with the grotesque as beautifully as she balances the comedic with the sad . . . Father Flavia (the wonderful T. Ryder Smith) . . “ The New Yorker
Our Lady of Kibeho
by Katori Hall world premiere Directed by Michael Grief Signature Theatre Company Pershing Square Theatre Center, NYC November – December 2014 Stage Managers: Michael McGoff, Winnie CAST Starla Benford (Sister Evangelique) Jade Eshete (Student/Villager) Danaya Esperanza (Student/ Villager) Niles Fitch (Emmanuel) Kambi Gathesha (Villager) Brent Jennings (Bishop Gahamanyi) Joaquina Kalukango (Marie-Claire Mukangango) Mandi Masden (Anathalie Mukamazimpaka) Irungu Mutu (Villager) Owiso Odera (Father Tuyishime) Nneka Okafor (Alphonsine Mumureke) Stacey Sargeant (Student/Villager/Reporter) T. Ryder Smith (Father Flavia) Angel Uwamahoro (Student/Villager) Bowman Wright (Nkango Mukamazimpaka)
Black Lives Matter. At the end of the curtain call on the evening of the Eric Garner decision, our cast raised hands in solidarity with the ongoing protests against police violence. We collectively continued the gesture at the end of each performance through closing night. Many members of the audience responded in kind. Curtain call photos by Dante Sully.
The cast of Katori Hall’s Our Lady of Kibeho curtain call in solidarity on December 3, 2014. Photo courtesy of Owiso Odera’s Facebook Page.
Opening night. L to R: Brent Jennings, Irungu Mutu, Kambi Gathesha, Mandi Masden, Owiso Odera, Bowman Wright, Niles Fitch, T. Ryder Smith.
Opening night. Almost the full cast. L to R, back: Brent Jennings, Irungu Mutu, Kambi Gathesha, Owiso Odera, Bowman Wright, T. Ryder Smith, Nneka Okafor. Front: Niles Fitch, Mandi Masden, Jade Eshete, Joaquina Kalukango, Danaya Esperanza, Angel Uwamahoro.
Niles made his theatrical debut as Young Martin Luther King, Jr. in the musical “I Dream” in Atlanta GA.
ARCHIVIST, HISTORIAN, and ARTiST
Dale Shields is a professor of theatre, director, and actor (Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Broadway, and Regional).
The 2017 winner of The Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award®, 2017 and 2015 Tony® award nominee for the Excellence in Theatre Education Award, and the winner of the 2017 AUDELCO/"VIV" Special Achievement Award. On the web, he is the archivist and historian of Iforcolor.org and Black Theatre/African American Voices [Facebook] (theatre, music, and art). He has taught classes and workshops at Susquehanna University, Denison University, Randolph-Macon College, Macalester College, The College of Wooster, Ohio University, Wayne State University, and the Joseph Papp Public Theatre (New York Shakespeare Festival).
B.F.A. and M.F.A. degree from Ohio University.