Syracuse Stage Presents Cry For Peace: Voices From the Congo

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By Craig Thornton

Cry for Peace: Voices from the Congo

A World Premiere Featuring Five Real Life Stories

 Presented by Syracuse Stage and Syracuse University, In association with Ping Chong + Company and the Congolese Community of Syracuse

 Cry for Peace: Voices from the Congo brings to the stage five real people, including survivors and refugees from the recent Congolese civil war, members of once opposing tribes—the abductor and the violated—struggling to leave the past behind and form a peaceful community in Central New York. A composition of interwoven, personal narratives, powerful images and beautiful songs, Cry for Peace is a rich theatrical experience—a searing, moving and hopeful hymn to the power of the human spirit.

Written by Ping Chong and Kyle Bass, with Sara Zatz, Cry for Peace is part of Undesirable Elements (UE), an ongoing series of community-specific, oral history theatre works by Ping Chong + Company comprised of over 40 productions that have been made across the U.S. and abroad. The world premiere of Cry for Peace runs September 14—23 in the Archbold Theatre at Syracuse Stage, 820 East Genesee Street. Tickets range $15-$20 and are available at the Syracuse Stage Box Office, 315-443-3275 or www.SyracuseStage.org.

Following its Syracuse run, Cry for Peace will premiere in New York City at La MaMa, in Ping Chong + Company’s Undesirable Elements Festival: Real People. Real Lives. Real Theatre, celebrating the 20th anniversary of Undesirable Elements (www.pingchong.org/uefest). The NYC performance dates, October 18-21, will coincide with Breaking the Silence: Congo Week, a global week of activities that commemorates the millions of lives lost in the Congo conflict while celebrating the enormous human and natural potential that exists in the country. (http://congoweek.org/)

 To prepare for working on this project, co-writers Ping Chong and Kyle Bass, along with Stage’s Producing Artistic Director Timothy Bond and Syracuse University’s Arts Presenter Carole Brzozowski, travelled together to the Congo. The region is the world’s largest exporter of Coltan, a mineral that is used to manufacture cell phones and computers, a source of economic gain that has fueled decades of conflict in the region that continues to this day.

 “Approximately 300 Congolese from 12 different tribal groups now live in Syracuse, and thousands of miles from their native land, they began a process of community healing,” said Ping Chong, Co-Writer, Director, and Creator of UE. “It has not proven easy but they have been able to achieve a delicate unity here. In spite of the brutality the members of Cry for Peace have experienced, for me the show is inherently hopeful for it is about trying to break the wheel of violence and revenge. It has been a great privilege for my collaborators and me to use our artistry to help bring this important message of hope to the world.”

Cry for Peace is an important work for Central New York audiences and for Syracuse Stage,” said Syracuse Stage’s Timothy Bond. “The humanity present in these stories will resonate with people from many different backgrounds. I am excited to witness the continued impact of this work as it premieres in Syracuse and then moves to New York City in October.”

 The presenting sponsor for Cry for Peace is Arts Engage at Syracuse University. Show sponsors are Syracuse Symposium and the Dorothy and Marshall M. Reisman Foundation. The media sponsors are Clear Channel Entertainment and Urban CNY. Syracuse Stage season sponsors are The Post-Standard and Time Warner Cable.

 

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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