As a middle-aged American academic who desperately needs to publish a book in order to gain tenure, Jack Exley leaps at the chance to go to Rwanda to write about his old college classmate Dr. Joseph Gasana, who has in the intervening years has specialized in treating children stricken by AIDS. But when Jack, along with his African-American second wife, Linda, and his disaffected teenage son, Geoffrey, arrive in Kigali in the fall of 1994, they are not only unable to find Joseph, they are unable to find anyone who will even admit to having known the Tutsi doctor. Befriended by both a cynical American diplomat and a perhaps too-helpful Hutu political powerbroker, Jack and his family slowly, then urgently, become enmeshed in the tension and terror, the professional risks and personal betrayals, that they ultimately realize mark the start of a genocidal war—a horror that they can sense but cannot comprehend or control.
In The Overwhelming, J.T. Rogers has written a play that is both a brilliantly crafted piece of writing and a tense, suspenseful exploration of one of the great human tragedies of our time. It will have its U.S. premiere off-Broadway in November 2007.
About the Author
J. T. Rogers is the author of The Overwhelming, Madagascar, White People, Murmuring in a Dead Tongue, and other plays. His works have been produced in London by the National Theatre, Tricycle Theatre and Theatre 503; toured the UK with Out of Joint; and been heard on BBC Radio. In New York City his plays have been seen at the Roundabout Theatre, the SPF Play Festival and commercially Off Broadway; they have also been staged in Australia, Canada, Israel, Germany, and throughout the United States. His essays have appeared in The Independent, New Statesman, and American Theatre. In New York City, Rogers is a resident playwright at New Dramatists and a member of the Dramatists Guild. He holds an honorary doctorate from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
“A gripping political thriller . . . captures the sense of terror when the division between political discussion and murder is membrane-thin.” —Rachel Halliburton, Time Out London
“The theatre is a tribunal whose task is to present the bloody evidence and ask what you think of yourself as a member of the human race. I have seldom seen this task performed with such unprejudiced but devestating power.” —John Peter, The Sunday Times