by Matthew MacKenzie

Directed by Jenn Thompson*
Music by Jack Ramsey

Featuring: Susan Heyward, Evan Jonigkeit, and Peterson Townsend

Sia recounts the struggles of an aid worker and two Liberian citizens as they grapple with the atrocities of one of the most brutal rebellions in memory. Can they come to terms with their wounded pasts to create a more hopeful future, or will they create more bloodshed in their wake?

From the Playwright:

The Civil War that recently tore the West African country of Liberia apart didn’t make any sense to me; without a Cold War chess match to dissect, the media was content painting a messy picture of crazed black Africans butchering one another seemingly for diamonds and hardwood lumber. Living in a community that had received the United Nation’s top ranking for places in the world in which to live, I became determined to discover the reasons why Liberia was identified as the worst.

Travelling to the Buduburam Liberian Refugee Settlement outside Accra, Ghana, I interviewed over seventy-five young people about their experiences during Liberia’s Civil War. Their stories, which they generously shared, were not about diamonds or hardwood lumber. They were stories about neighbours, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, stories filled with humour, hope, and very human horror.

In writing SIA I have endeavoured to try to honour these many stories, while at the same time taking a hard look at my and my First World generation’s need to bare witness to tragedies in the Third World.

About the Playwright:

MATTHEW MACKENZIE (Playwright) is a graduate of the playwriting program at the National Theatre School of Canada where he was the winner of the Lieutenant Governor’s award for excellence and community involvement.  SIA won the 2010 Alberta Playwriting Competition’s Grand Prize Category and will be receiving its world premiere production in Toronto as part of Cahoots Theatre Company’s 2011-12 season. Matthew’s previous plays include: Tick (Edmonton), Me Happy co-written with Amy Lee Lavoie (Toronto) and The Particulars (Toronto, Edmonton, Montreal, Winnipeg, and Quebec City). Upcoming for Matthew this August at Toronto’s SummerWorks Festival is a production of his play The Particulars and In General.