Thu, 9 August 2012
University of Johannesburg (UJ) Arts & Culture ups the ante on fabulous with more than just fluff and pink feathers thanks to its THATSOGAY theatre festival on in Joburg this August, September and October.
“2011 saw UJ Arts & Culture present the pioneering Reading Gay Festival, a series of five staged readings of contemporary South African gay plays,” explained Festival Director Alby Michaels.
THATSOGAY is the evolution of that project into a fully-fledged gay theatre festival.
“Despite the giant leaps South Africa has taken in securing gay rights as human rights, given the recent epidemic of gay hate crimes lately, it is clear these freedoms cannot be taken for granted so it is these freedoms this festival will celebrate,” said Michaels.
Renos Spanoudes directs Greg MacArthur’s Snowman: After years of wandering, Denver and Marjorie find themselves in a remote northern community at the edge of a glacier, chopping wood, renting out stolen videos and doing cocaine with Jude, a young gay man whose parents have abandoned him. When Jude discovers the body of a prehistoric boy frozen in the glacier, everyone finds their lives beginning to shift and thaw in unexpected ways.
Neels Clasen directs well-known actor, singer, writer, comedian Bruce J Little in the third instalment of the comedy-cabaret Little Poof! Big Bang!: Little once again delivers even more hilarity and musical morphing mayhem with musical direction by Carel-Piet Van Eeden and special guest appearances by Lionel Swanson and Gregory Winn from FLOURSH.
Jade Bowers directs The Boy Who Fell from the Roof by Juliet Jenkin: With fresh and unconventional wit, this play has comedy, charm and pathos as it explores most of the things worth falling for in life. Simon and his best friend, Georgina, are Grade 12 learners (in their final year at school) and we go with them on their journey as they fall into the cold bath waters of homosexuality, race, love, death and growing up in contemporary Cape Town. Playwright Juliet Jenkin deftly enters the world of the teenage psyche. Simon's life-shifting encounter with a post-graduate mathematics student, Leonard, with whom he falls in love, places pressures on his friendship with Georgina.
Alby Michaels directs Dalliances by Pieter Jacobs: Janet is looking for love. Leo and Janet are friends. Ken is involved with Andy. When Ken meets Leo in a supermarket, the lives of these four characters intersect with extraordinary results. At its core, the play is a dark exploration of fluid sexuality, indiscriminate promiscuity, raw lust and misguided love. Dalliances won five awards and nominations at the fifth International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival.
“From drama to cabaret, from local plays to international work, the line-up is not only broad-based but also not exclusively gay,” comments Ashraf Johaardien, Head of UJ Arts & Culture.
“Being gay is more incidental than central to these plays. However they imagine a world where sexuality is a continuum and where being gay has stopped being an issue. A few years ago, naively it seemed to me we had made this a South African reality. I fully realise we still have far to go. Festivals like these will [help us] get there,” he adds.
The THATSOGAY festival runs from 28 August to 13 October 2012 at the UJ Con Cowan Theatre. The shows will be performed on the following dates:
Snowman: 28 Aug - 1 Sept
Little Poof! Big Bang!: 7 - 8 Sept
The Boy Who Fell from the Roof: 18 - 22 Sept
Dalliances: 9 - 13 Oct
Book through Computicket.