The Monument is about a young soldier convicted of war crimes. Stetko is the boy next door who comes from respectable parents and has gotten caught up in the political events of a war he never understood. Like the good son, the good soldier, he obeys his superiors only to find that, at the conclusion of war, he has become the scapegoat for crimes “everyone was doing.” He is “rescued” by a woman from the enemy side, a woman who suspects he knows the whereabouts of her missing daughter, and arranges his release. The Monument charts the visceral journey of two characters, and through their journey exams the ambiguities of morality and justice, the paradox of a soldier today, and the length that must be traversed to reach potential reconciliation.
The play has been translated into a dozen languages including Mandarin, Kinyarwandan, Romanian, Japanese, Taiwanese, French, Italian, Portuguese, German and continues to be produced nationally and internationally.
Won Governor General’s Literary Award, 1996, numerous Dora Awards, voted best new play in China 2000 and 2006 (published in China and is on tour until 2017)
The Monument premiered in 1995 at Canadian Stage Company, Toronto in a co-production with Necessary Angel Theatre and the Manitoba Theatre Centre and was directed by Richard Rose and starred Rosemary Dunsmore and Tom Barnett.
“Once in a while I see a show that is simply transcendent and this evening was one of those occasions while watching Isoko Theatre Rwandan’s The Monument at Harbourfront Centre.”
– by Nicole Fairbaimm TheSceneIn Toronto. 2011
“There’s a scene near the end of The Monument, Colleen Wagner’s searing 1995 drama about wartime atrocities, when a young soldier is forced to remember in detail the 23 women he has raped and murdered…. It’s an act of resurrection and reclamation that lies at the heart of Wagner’s Governor-General’s Award-winning play.”
– by Martin Morrow, The Globe and Mail. 2011
“The ravages of war exact a cruel price from innocent victims who often pay dearly for their mere presence. In The Monument… two people are caught up in the tragic consequences of a war that is over; a woman who is searching for the body of the murdered victims and the killer who was only doing what he was ordered to do, a refrain that remains painfully familiar on our front pages.”
– by Jeniva Berger, Scenechanges.com. 2006
The Monument was published in 1996 by Playwrights Canada Press and is in its 7th printing.