New York | 1h 15m | Already closed

Dogs of Rwanda

From 12 critic and 32 member reviews
Members say: Absorbing, Relevant, Great acting, Intense, Intelligent

About the show

Urban Stages presents this dark New York premiere, about a man who finds himself haunted by his experience as a young man with the Rwandan genocide. More…

16-year-old David finds himself in Uganda as a church missionary. He follows the girl of his dreams into the woods as the Rwandan genocide erupts. 20 years later and half a world away, he still can’t escape what happened and publishes a book on the events. When a note arrives reading, “There are untruths here,” David finds himself back in those woods with the boy he tried to save, in a journey towards redemption and forgiveness.

1h 15m | Already closed | Urban Stages (Chelsea)

Stage Buddy

"Exquisite writing by Sean Christopher Lewis...David launches into a chilling account of the horrific events he witnessed...His account is somewhat suspect, the real mystery within the mystery of the play. As I cannot divulge the crux of this thriller, you’ll have to witness this remarkable journey for yourselves...It’s a remarkable evening all around, evocative and harrowing. Hill and Napolitano helmed this amazing evening with panache." Full Review

DC Metro Theater Arts

"The one-man play offers an intense and unnerving look at man’s inhumanity to man, the lingering personal effects of unimaginable trauma, and ideas on how best to cope in the aftermath by embracing truth and forgiveness...A gripping direct-address monologue that employs us as witnesses to his story...'Dogs of Rwanda' isn’t easy to watch, but it’s impossible to turn away from the truth of what happened and the riveting production at Urban Stages." Full Review

Diandra Reviews it All

"Hodge as David is exceptional, and if not for his fantastically, raw performance 'Dogs of Rwanda' would not be an easy watch...Lewis gives Hodge a plentiful, vivid script that helps you understand why David, though a charming, friendly man, still feels like a wounded 16 year old...While 'Dogs of Rwanda' is a one-man show, Hodge is so vivacious and interpersonal that you feel God's Blessing is there telling him not to paint him as a Tutsi victim but an unwilling killer." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"A solo show...Filled with terrors...Lewis' text is filled with fine details...Under the direction of Hill and Napolitano...Hodge holds us firmly in his grip...He is well-suited to the role of an innocent who has wandered into the heart of darkness...The production is striking and yet not too slick...There are gaps in the text that one would like to see filled...Maintains a viselike power -- it is a trip to hell and back, and it poses lingering questions about guilt and reconciliation." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"David's chronicle is gripping, violent, and ultimately quite moving, and Hodge gives a riveting performance...There is something instinctively off putting about a white male character confronting the psychological torment of the Rwandan genocide...In the end, though, 'Dogs of Rwanda' shows that cultural scars are not limited by racial or national origins. We are all implicated in historical traumas by the narratives we hear and the stories we receive." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"The narrative could be greatly improved with a better depiction of the geographical aspects of the story…'Dogs of Rwanda''s subject matter is intrinsically interesting but there's little of historical or political importance in it that…well-informed audiences don't already know. Its greatest value lies in the opportunity it provides for an exciting solo performance...Hodge…offers a strong, personable characterization of someone genuinely affected after having gone through such indelible trau... Full Review


"Hodge commandingly plays the American narrator...Though well-written...comes across as a contrived episode that restates that war is hell. Lewis' approach may be fresh but the subject matter isn't, and so even with the compelling performances and excellent presentation, the 70-minute show is an artistic draw...Succeeds on many crucial levels but one's enjoyment of it depends on if one is the in mood for a bleak theatrical travelogue without an imperative purpose." Full Review

The Playfixer

"'Dogs of Rwanda', a monodrama by Sean Christopher Lewis at Urban Stages, is a narrated tale wherein a man tells of his personal experience with the Rwandan genocide while he was a teenaged missionary. He’s published a book about this horrific experience and has been contacted by a survivor who has criticized him for not telling the whole story. Dan Hodge is mighty fine as Our Narrator, but there is no escaping the fact that this is a story, not a play, albeit a most compelling one." Full Review


"Hodge's tendency to telegraph each emotional beat betrays the contrivance of the script. His attempts to summon white-hot anger mostly leave us cold as we see the wheels turning in his head...Unfortunately, all of the African characters discussed in 'Dogs of Rwanda' come across as thinly drawn sketches...His frequent digressions into his B-plot romance with Mary Jane are even more tiresome...It all leaves a false aftertaste that is very hard to wash down." Full Review


for a previous production "A gripping solo play that deals with loss, grief, and truth...Under Maura Krause’s precise direction, Hodge holds the audience in the palm of his hand throughout. What seems like innocuous banter can segue effortlessly into a gut punch...The play and the performance are both deeply unsettling, precisely because Hodge fosters such a precise level of intimacy...This is a refreshingly honest way to handle a story that centers around a perceived transgression...'Dogs of Rwanda' demands to be seen." Full Review

Philadelphia Inquirer

for a previous production "This play is a fascinating and exhausting hourlong monologue, performed with great power and subtlety by Dan Hodge. The gruesome details and the action-filled chronicle are riveting — an enormous challenge in a solo show...Hodge, master of the sickly smile, never simplifies or illustrates; this is acting that refuses to be seen as acting...Lewis’ 'Dogs of Rwanda' is filled with small motivic links that knit the play together, far more complex effects than I could catch in one viewing." Full Review

Broad Street Review

for a previous production "Through the character of David, played convincingly by Dan Hodge in this 70-minute one-man show, we see ourselves...Hodge's performance is extraordinarily genuine and personal...'Dogs of Rwanda' becomes an immersive and intense experience, a well-crafted play that goes beyond cataloging atrocities to investigate how and why they're committed and how we might somehow, someday, recover from them." Full Review

Great acting, Intelligent, Absorbing, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if You enjoy great storytelling. The subject can be quite dark and disturbing (genocide) he weaves a story you can get lost in-and learn from.

Don't see it if You’re looking for light and fluffy.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to be enthralled by a one man performance around an engrossing and human story of Rwanda

Don't see it if You want a light comedy or musical.

Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Intense

See it if You relate to the tragedy in Rwanda and the difficulties of reconciliation

Don't see it if you want a playful, flippant show

Also the African drummer was great

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great staging, Must see, Relevant

See it if You are interested in world events, like great simple staging, a strong story

Don't see it if You don't like one man shows.

Intelligent, Riveting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Masterful

See it if You want an intense show that will make you think.

Don't see it if You don't want anything that is topical and thought provoking.

Great storytelling, Emotionally impactful, Musician accompanied

See it if You’d like to hear an engaging story of forgiveness that is set during the 100 day Rwandan genocide accompanied by the talking drum.

Don't see it if You don’t want to be reminded of a tragic event in African history.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if You like good storytelling

Don't see it if Don’t like one man plays

Absorbing, Entertaining, Intense

See it if You want to see a compelling, well acted and designed story about guilt and trauma.

Don't see it if You're not interested in one man shows. You can't handle descriptions of violence.

Also Hodge does a great job throughout. The drummer accompanist is wonderfu... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if You like well acted one man shows that are based on historical events such as the Rwandan genocide and the subjects of guilt and memory

Don't see it if You have no interest in guilt, coming to terms with youthful mistakes or genocide

Great acting, Intense, Relevant, Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if you are interested in being exposed to challenges abroad and learning some difficult things.

Don't see it if if you dont like one man shows or need a lot of action.

Absorbing, Dizzying, Unclear, Moving, Choppy

See it if you are interested in the long-term effects of traumatic violence.

Don't see it if you cannot bear to experience graphic descriptions of violence.

Also “Dogs of Rwanda” is a tough play to write about as a play. There were ... Read more Read less

Intense, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Abou, the musician-a marvel

See it if you are interested in the horror of genocide in general, or in Rwanda in particular. As well as redemption/forgiveness. Musician-fabulous.

Don't see it if learning of the horror of genocide is too painful. One-character shows bore you.

Intense, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You are interested in political drama.

Don't see it if If you are easily upset by atrocities in world events.

Good for a solo show with very good musical accompaniment

See it if You appreciate one man story telling.

Don't see it if You don't like solo shows.

Intelligent, Profound, Relevant, Riveting, Resonant

See it if If you want to know how bad things can really get.

Don't see it if You have nightmares

Absorbing, Entertaining, Intelligent

See it if The subject is compelling. The Rwandan genocide from one man’s personal experience. Imaginative use of drum to score the show. I saw the

Don't see it if You can’t stand another one actor show. You know nothing about the Rwandan genocide. You must have an intermission. You only like musicals

Also last preview. I’m sure the show will get better with time. Good lighti... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense

See it if This flashback story about a trip to Rwanda finds heft more in the situation and country than the actual story told engagingly by the actor.

Don't see it if One-man shows can run from eye-rolling to ultimate adoration. This falls pretty much in the center where the setting overshadows the story.

Entertaining, Intelligent, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if You enjoy being told a unique story. A beautiful atmosphere was created on the small stage. The actor very good indeed -

Don't see it if You have no patience for a one man play about an unusual and violent story in Rwanda

Absorbing, Great acting, Great music accompaniment, Great staging, Emotional

See it if This very emotional and personal story of redemption is revealed by the adult obsessed by the murder and the violence he had witnessed

Don't see it if You like ensemble plays.

Also as a tanager in April 1994, at the beginning of the Rwandan genocide. ... Read more Read less

Resonant, Intense (at times), Great drumming

See it if you want to learn more about the Rwandan genocide through the eyes of an outsider

Don't see it if you don't enjoy solo shows, especially ones with audience interaction, or are distracted by onstage musicians.

Ambitious, Absorbing, Great staging, Thought-provoking, Great music

See it if you like one man shows, especially about tough topics. Live music.

Don't see it if You don't like one man shows. You're looking for light and fluffy.

Resonant, Interesting, Thought provoking, Great drummer

See it if you want a thoughtful exploration of forgiveness, blame and the repercussions of genocide. It's dark at times, but not too heavy.

Don't see it if you require brilliant writing (script could use tightening/a little more clarity in what it's trying to achieve), or don't like 1-man shows

Also The drummer ("Musician") was excellent and a great addition to the sho... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Slow, Cliched, Intelligent, Resonant

See it if You are interested in the manifestations of trauma.

Don't see it if You seek new insights into the causes of genocide and Rwandan history.

Ambitious, Intense

See it if You want to see a one man show about Rwandan genocide. Sound effects and drumming by the drummer is very good. Well written story.

Don't see it if Don't want to see a bleak one man show.

Indulgent, Meandering, Hard to follow the story, Confusing, Relevant

See it if you like one person narrative plays about an historical event (plus ethnic musical accompaniment).

Don't see it if you've hard a long and tiring day.

Cast & Creatives (10)