Lila, a young Congolese woman, is left sterile from a secret abortion. Her
new husband decides to marry a second wife, Biwa, to bear him children. Lila’s
jealousy increases; she invokes the Goddess of Fertility and makes a pact that will have
terrible consequences for both women. Meanwhile, irresponsible Biwa leaves the
care of her two children to her co-spouse Lila, which results in a tragedy. Lila
runs away and finds refuge in a society of outcast women. But Biwa finds Lila and
demands justice. The outcast elder agrees to a death-penalty trial on the
condition that both women, not just Lila, are to be judged.
At its core, Luzimbu exposes women's hopes and fears and lays bare the
consequences of judgments based on traditional morals. The outcome of the trial,
and what follows are based on traditional Congolese morality overlayed by the often
brutal experiences suffered by the women. Who is judged guilty, and by whom?
Lila desperately wants Biwa's baby
Photo by Suelki Kwon
LUZIMBU is an opera sung in two languages of the Congo, Lingala and Lari, with narrative songs in English and Korean. The spectacular dance performances choreographed throughout LUZIMBU reflect the duality of its director - they are essentially traditional Congolese dances fused and updated with American modern staging.
LUZIMBU features additional text by Prisca Ouya and Benjamin Marcantoni; music composed by Richard Cohen, Benjamin Marcantoni, Pline and Yukio Tsuji
The production features choreography by Prisca Ouya, Gervais Tomadiatunga, Prince Dethmer Nzaba, Lungusu Malonga and Potri Ranka Manis; costumes designed by Prisca Ouya.
The cast includes Nasiba Abdul-Karim, Tommy Agarwal, Nia Austin-Edwards, Inderia Carr, Sheila Dabney, Alexis Doster-Pennerman, Angela K. Harmon, Aïda Issaka, Lungusu Malonga, Benjamin Marcantoni, Valois Mickens, Allon Morgan, Rachida N'Gouamba, Deadra Renne Nelson Mason, Nayel Amira Nelson-Young, Prisca Ouya, Chaney Pollard, Tiffany Rose, Fitz Sam, Rohiatou Siby, N'tifafa Akoko Tete-Rosenthal, Jojo Tosin and Kat Yew.
"Although women in the Congo (Republic of Congo and Democratic Republic of
Congo) are victims of rape and sexual mutilations by the soldiers and guerilla fighters, and I don't want to lessen our outrage over these atrocities, I also want people to know that they are good and decent men in the Congo trying to hold their families together and earn a living.
They are not all barbarians." - Prisca Ouya