Passage Theater, Trenton’s professional theater company, has two one-actor shows arriving on its stage as part of its annual Solo Flight presentations.
The first is “Remembrance Day,” which premiered last year at Passage before being presented in New York City. Written and performed by Passage artistic director June Ballinger, the play focuses on Nancy Annan and her secret life as a British code breaker during World War II. The true-life story is based on Ballinger’s mother and inspired by her wartime diaries and correspondence. The one-day event is set for Saturday, March 4, at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $12 to $25.
Then “Miracle in Rwanda” arrives and recounts the harrowing real-life experiences of Immaculee Ilibagiza, a 22-year-old witness of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
The “miracle” is Ilibagiza’s survival following three months of hiding in silence with seven other women in a closet-sized bathroom. Her experiences were recounted in the bestselling book “Left to Tell,” the source of the internationally performed play created by and featuring Leslie Lewis and directed by Edward Vilga.
“When I went into that bathroom I was a child,” says Ilibagiza, “I trusted our leaders. But those three months taught me that those laws and those people — everything I trusted and believed in — were changeable. What I found when I came out made me turn in on myself and search my heart to see what were my values; what did I believe. My world had been destroyed by people who had forgotten about love. If I wanted a different world, I had to be different. The experience strengthened my commitment to my own values regardless of what other people did.”
According to director Vilga, audiences should expect to experience a range of emotions as “terror escalates as hundreds of machete-wielding killers search the house where Ilibagiza is hiding again and again. Calling out her name, they are determined to find and butcher her as they have all the other members of her family. Immaculee moves beyond her intense fear into rage and despair, somehow in the end managing to find a deeper spiritual connection than she ever thought possible.”
“The true miracle of her story is her ability to choose her spiritual focus and to let go,” notes Vilga. “Astonishingly, she somehow manages to find it within herself to forgive even those who had murdered her own mother and father and brothers.”
The play runs weekends from March 18 through 26, Saturdays at 3 and 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets range from $12 to $27.
Passage Theater, Mill Hill Playhouse, 205 East Front Street, Trenton. For more information, call (609) 392-0766 or go to passagetheatre.org.