Drama for Life is bringing critical, bold theatre into the public domain through its 9th annual Drama for Life Sex Actually Festival.
Hosted at Wits University, the festival is a cross-community arts education, activism and therapeutic intervention, which is curated in a way that allows arts practitioners and audience members to holistically engage with and interrogate the complexities surrounding themes of sex, sexuality, relationships, culture, gender, HIV and sexual reproductive health; within human rights and social justice discourse.
This year’s event asks: What does it mean to be vulnerable? Vulnerability is exposing, daunting, dangerous and deeply embodied in our understanding of what it means to be human, to feel, and to be witnessed by others.
This year the festival invites you to re-discover, re-imagine and re-ignite vulnerability in a city, and country, where bodies are painted with race-brushes, classed by bank statements, and violated by outdated patriarchal legacies.
Songezo Mcilizeli presents Audition, a work that looks at social programming and individualism controlling one’s state of mind.
Mcilizeli says the piece comes from a place of deep introspection, adding: “We all want to be part of something but we have to audition to do so. We audition for a job, for new love, life itself is an audition. In these moments, we have to remember our individuality and embrace that. We don’t have to change who we are to be part of something.”
Whether it be your marital or social status, political leanings, demographics or vocation, this behaviour is what keeps us rattled. These social rules and pressures infiltrate one’s mind, becoming the voice of (un)reason.
Audition will be staged on September 8 at 6.30 pm, September 9 at 8 pm and September 10 in the Wits Amphitheatre.
Refiloe Lepere brings to stage Between Sisters, a ritualistic exploration of two sisters and their relationship with their madam.
The play is inspired by Xoliswa Dilata’s thesis on the relationship between black madams and their black employees. It brings to focus the masks we wear in daily life; the roles we play that define us without capturing our true selves.
“In South Africa the relationship of the helper and employer is always a complex one. It has become even more intricate in post-apartheid South Africa, as it still carries the stench of the segregated and classist past,” said Lepere.
The play offers a new way of looking at the helpers in our world, as ingenious and ambitious. It questions the idea of what is an authentic performance of self. It also moves us to re-imagine our expectations on the representation of domestic workers in our lives.
See Between Sisters on September 8 and 9 at 7.30 pm, September 10 at 3 pm and 7.30 pm in the Wits Downstairs Theatre.
Jozi Shorts is a compilation of short sharp plays created and curated by Bitesize Theatre. The plays, which are performed by the same cast and director, are a collection of funny, sweet, silly, poignant and stylistic love stories.
From the awkwardness of asking your husband on a date (This Night), to an over-the-top ‘possible infidelity’ comedy (Film Noir), to a couple destined to be each other’s side dishes no matter the obstacles (Goodbye); this collection of short plays explores love, grief, pain, and humour.
Jozi Shorts can be seen at 5 pm on September 9 at 4.30 pm on September 10 in the Wits Amphitheatre..
SexSports! returns to the campus library lawns at this year’s Drama for Life festival! Using a fun approach, this lunchtime event will have students engage in team events that require them to work together, answer questions, and share important information about reproductive health, sex, relationships and HIV/AIDS.
Join in on the fun on Friday, September 9 from 1.15 pm to 2.15 pm.
This year also sees the launches a new facet of the festival, the Rehearse: Reveal Programme, which offers young theatre-makers an experimental space to showcase their work. This new feature promises curious audiences punchy, sexy, rubbing theatre, and is one to not be missed.
For more information see the Reveal: Rehearse Programme at http://www.dramaforlife.co.za
|Thursday, September 8||1.15pm – Between Sisters (Town hall with panel piscussion)
7.30pm – Between Sisters
|6:30 pm – Audition
|5 pm – When Morning Comes
|Friday, September 9||7.30pm – Between Sisters||5pm – Jozi Shorts
8pm – Audition
|5pm – Spilt Milk
11 am – Unzipped (Main Theatre)
1.15pm – Sex Sports (Library Lawns)
|Saturday, September 10||3pm – Between Sisters
7:30pm – Between Sisters
9pm – Strike
|4.30pm – Jozi Shorts
6.30pm – Audition
|2pm – Pregnant Lesbian
4pm – Innocent Yet Guilty
6pm – Finding Me
Tickets available at Wits Box Office. The full festival programme can be found online at http://www.dramaforlife.co.za or on the Drama for Life Facebook page.
About the artists
- Refiloe Lepere is a Dramaturge at the SA State Theatre. She is also a lecturer and Post-Graduate research coordinator at Drama for Life, University of Witwatersrand. Refiloe received her MA from New York University and is completing a PhD on the efficacy of Performance as a research method to document the oral histories of domestic workers in South Africa. She was recently named as one of Mzansi’s 100 Influencers.
- Songezo Mcilizeli is a choreographer, dancer and facilitator. He began his dance training at Zama Dance in Gugulethu, Cape Town. He graduated from the Tshwane University of Technology in 2003, with a B Tech diploma in dance. He was a Founding Member of Tshwane Dance Theatre and later a member of the Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative. He has toured and performed on several international platforms, including as a member of the South African cast of The Lion King.
- Mlindelwa Lilli Mahlangu is an actor, voiceover artist, theatre director and scriptwriter. His career in the arts began in 2000 when he finally embraced his talents in writing and acting. He first took to stage in a poetry session in Pimville, Soweto and he never looked back ever since that stand-up ovation. Lilli has also held the position of Youth Development Manager at the Joburg Theatre.