Notes of Violence and Hatred


Uganda is a country where LGBT is not accepted, and where the consequences of this lifestyle will entail the denial of employment, health care services, education, discrimination, violent attacks, arrests and outcast by family and friends. These are the words of Frank Mugisha, Executive Director of Sexual Minorities in Uganda.

A self-proclaimed prophet by the name of Joseph Kony believed he was sent from God to purify the people through ruling the country created The Lord's Resistance Army to adhere to Uganda's homosexuality laws. This decision caused the displacement of 2.5 million people and the death and adduction of more than 260,000 others living in Uganda.

Hansol Jung a playwright known to weave stories together about displacement, isolation, and brings us a powerful and thought-provoking play, ‘Cardboard Piano.' The name of the play derived from a story told within the play, which reflected a more in-depth appreciation and understanding of the beauty of trying to do what is right in the eyes of God and mankind. The play premiered as part of the Humana Festival of New American Plays in 2016.


Jung uses two specific time frames within the play one, in 1999, the eve of the millennium, depicting a ceremonial day, which unfolded a story filled with loss, love, and the power of faith. Then, 15 years later, we witness the unfolding saga of life after the war where those that survived come together to discuss the real reason why the church has no congregation.  This is when the story of the Cardboard Piano comes to life.

On a stormy night, in a darkened church where two teenagers a daughter of American missionary's name Chris (Kearstyn Keller) and a native Uganda girl name Adiel (Adia Alli) are exchanging their wedding vows. Set in a township in Northern Uganda on New Year's Eve, 1999, the year of the Y2K bug in a secret makeshift wedding ceremony, Chris and Adiel confess their love for one another.

Upon completing their makeshift vows, their new lives are suddenly interrupted by a wounded stranger named Pika (Freedom Martin), and unbeknown to them, this soldier will change their lives forever.

The war zone of brutality is heightened in the church when Soldier (Kai A.) who is from The Lord's Resistance Army, (LRA) comes looking for Pika; however, this leader who has made Pika, do some unspeakable things will meet with his fate of the retributions of survival. Pike, who seems to have found redemption falls back into a lifestyle of his childhood past when he sees what he believes is not in line with his teachings. 

In the second act, we witness the celebration of the first Easter, a day of the new birth for the church and the celebration of Pastor Paul, and his wife Ruth, second anniversary. However, an interruption emerges when Chris comes back to have her father's ashes buried on the land and discovers she knows the Pastor from a story he shared with his wife. This climactic story comes to an end when Francis an outcast church member comes to see the Pastor for acceptance only to find out that he is not the only one that needs to be forgiven.

Timeline company member, Director Mechelle Moe (In The Next Room, Or The Vibrator Play) confronts the religious and cultural roots of intolerance while exploring hatred, forgiveness, and violence in Cardboard Piano. This in your face, explosive play is like being on a roller coaster that drops you right into the action. Moe hits upon all of the emotional and sensitive keys that will make each person in the audience walk away with a different perspective about who and what is right. Can we lose the ability to forgive even though we need forgiveness? 


Actors Adia Alli, Kai A., Kearstyn Keller, and Freedom Martin are wonderful and their dual role performance. Their performances are worthy

Let’s Play ‘Highly Recommend’ that you check out this powerful play ‘Cardboard Piano’ at Timeline Theatre, where the church and Christianity can collide; whereas it should be a place of healing, compassion, and kindness instead of hate and intolerance.  

Timeline Theatre

Chicago Premier

Cardboard Piano

Playwright Hansol Jung

Director Mechelle Moe

 January 9, 2019 – March 17, 2019




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