Tierno Bokar (1875–1939) was a Sufi sage, a member of a distinguished clan, and a spiritual leader in his village in Mali. His clan, exponents of repeating a Sufi prayer 12 times, was embroiled in a debate with a rival clan that advocated repeating it 11 times, a debate that devolved into a conflict over power and leadership in the Tidjani Sufi Order. When Tierno eventually became a follower of Hamallah, a member of the rival clan, he was cast out by family, relatives and clan, branded a traitor, and forbidden to teach or pray publicly. His enemies further ostracized him by collaborating with the colonial powers, portraying him as a fomenter of rebellion against French rule. Tierno died impoverished and isolated.
Bokar is directed by Peter Brook and was adapted by Marie-Hélène Estienne from the great West African writer Amadou Hampaté Bâ's The Life and Teaching of Tierno Bokar: The Sage of Bandiagara. The piece features music by Toshi Tsuchitori and Antonin Stahly and lighting design by Phillipe Vialatte. Sotigui Kouyaté, from Burkina Faso, who appeared in Brook's Mahabharata, The Tempest, and other productions, plays Tierno Bokar.
Voza Rivers on meeting both Peter Brook and Gregory Mosher in the mid-1980s and how their relationship developed around the production of plays from South Africa. Rivers also comments on the African community in Paris that surrounds Brook’s Bouffes du Nord theater and the growing West African community in Harlem, and describes meeting the diverse cast of the play.