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‘Sullied’ digs deeper into rape culture as the country observes 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

‘Sullied’ digs deeper into rape culture as the country observes 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

Compelling new dance piece, “Sullied”, explores what scholar Pumla Dineo Gqola calls South Africa’s “Female Fear Factory”: rape.

Written by Nomakhwezi Becker and directed by Matjamela Motloung, “Sullied” is choreographed by the Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year for Dance 2021, Kristi-Leigh Gresse.

“Sullied” will run at the Market Theatre from November 24 until December 11.

The stage production explores the themes of religion, body politics, racism, gender, sexuality, rape culture, and toxic masculinity in a politically charged country led by powerful male politicians.

Motloung told IOL Entertainment the production examines the psychological effects of patriarchal ideologies and misogyny.

“In ‘Sullied’, the story is not told purely from a survivor or victim’s point of view … we also try and explore the perpetrator’s mind. We wanted to create an art piece that speaks to the psychology of violence instead of the psychology of the survivor.

“So the approach was how do we perceive the two worlds; be sympathetic and empathetic to the victims of gender-based violence, particularly looking at the story of Khwezi (Aids activist Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo, who alleged the former South African president raped her, in 2005), and say, ‘this is the woman who was ostracised and victimised by an entire section of society and we ask ourselves ‘is this a universal feeling that victims of abuse have?” Motloung said.

“So my role really came then to say: How do we encourage a conversation that doesn’t point fingers but helps take responsibility around how victims of abuse are treated?”

‘Sullied’ digs deeper into rape culture as the country observes 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence
Kristi-Leigh Greese and Sandile Mkhize. Picture: Supplied

According to Motloung, the production also questions the structure of patriarchy and its systems used to justify its control and manipulation of women and their bodies.

“The production interrogates the effects that patriarchal ideologies and misogyny have on the human psyche, specifically, the way these ideologies affect how we as human beings interact with one another.”

Motloung said the ethos of “Sullied” utilises dance, silence, spoken word and sign language to tell a powerful story about the structures that inform the daily strife South African women face.

The show also introduces Andiswa Gebashe, who lands her sign-language performance skill in a first for South African theatre as no production before this has had a sign-language performer not just interpreting but being a part of the cast, which makes this production accessible to a variety of patrons.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the play come to life with the help of the sign language performer Andiswa Gebashe because there are over two million deaf people in South Africa and GBV is very high within the deaf community.

“These communities have no way of accessing information or sharing information because we still have cops that are ill-equipped where sign language is concerned.

“I hope this play will open up different conversations in the deaf community, but also sensitise the hearing community to the problems that exist in the deaf community.

“I hope South Africans would take interest in the production because every day we are confronted by the realities that the play tries to tackle.

“We all know someone who is abused or someone who is an abuser. But we don’t get time to reflect and act on these realities, so we hope people would look at the work and consciously say, ‘I am an abuser or I know someone who is an abuser and actually do something about it’.”

“Sullied” premieres at the Market Theatre on November 24 and the production will run until December 11.

Tickets are available at Webtickets from R190 to R150.

‘Sullied’ digs deeper into rape culture as the country observes 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence
Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp. Picture: Astrid productions

JOBURG

Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp

Where: Theatre of Marcellus at Emperors Palace

When: November 25 to December 4.

This new and extravagant production of “Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp” is the brainchild of producer Anjil Naidoo.

During a life-threatening health journey, Naidoo came to the realisation that creating world-class theatre for a family audience was something on her bucket list that was achievable and needed.

Determined to showcase the abundance of South African talent, Naidoo wrote an original text of the Aladdin story and set about putting together a creative team of theatre professionals that would bring her vision to the stage.

‘Sullied’ digs deeper into rape culture as the country observes 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence
Flatfoot dancers: Kevin Govender, Charles Phillips, Michaela Munro and Karl Hebbelman. Picture: Herman Verwey

DURBAN

Flatfoot Access Dance Festival

Where: Courtyard Theatre, Durban University of Technology

When: November 25

Flatfoot Dance Company is delighted to offer its first “Flatfoot Access Dance Festival” on November 25 at 6 pm at the Courtyard Theatre, Durban University of Technology.

Three new works created by Flatfoot will be showcased celebrating the power of dance to transcend narrow definitions of who can dance.

Flatfoot’s approach to community dance development in KZN, has seen it offering what artistic director, Dr Lliane Loots calls, “a dance philosophy and practice we refer to as ‘living democracy’ where we find ways to make dance accessible to all no matter physical or intellectual ability, geography, race, gender and any other intersectional category around identity”.

‘Sullied’ digs deeper into rape culture as the country observes 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence
Aunty Merle. Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN

Aunty Merle, Only This Time Things Get Real!

Where: Baxter

When: November 29 to January 21.

It’s been two long years and Merle Abrahams from Belgravia Road has survived Covid-19 and lockdown restrictions and is just about finding her way through the darkness of load shedding.

This time around, however, things are about to get very real as Dennis, her loving husband, has been found to be keeping a secret from her. One which has affected his heart and is about to turn Merle’s world upside down.

“I wrote this one at a time when the world seems to have gone mad. I could not avoid having much of that chaos reflected in the story. The challenge has been to remain truthful in this regard, but to still ensure that there’s laughter,” said Marc Lottering.

Read the latest issue of IOL Entertainment’s digital magazine here.

Original Article