TIED UP: Khutjo Green and Craig Morris in Tartuffe. Picture: Dee-Ann Kaaijk
KHUTJO Green, who is based in Joburg, sees herself to some extent as an activist - and that informs her choices as an artist.

She wants to tell stories which encourage audiences to think. She is currently performing in Molière’s Tartuffe (often subtitled The Impostor, or The Hypocrite) which is on at the Baxter’s Flipside until April 29.

The 17th century play - which had its premiere last week at the Soweto Theatre - grapples with hypocrisy and how people are swayed by religion and spin doctors.

Direction is by Sylvaine Strike of the Fortune Cookie Company, which is staging the play. In addition to Green, the cast features Neil McCarthy, Craig Morris, Vanessa Cooke, Anele Situlweni, Vuyelwa Maluleke, Adrian Alper, Camilla Waldman and William Harding.

It will be great to see Green on the Cape Town stage. We first saw her at the Baxter in 2013, in Gina Shmukler’s The Line - a searing interrogation of xenophobia attacks - based on interviews with victims, perpetrators and witnesses.

It formed part of Shmukler’s Masters Research on trauma and theatre-making. Green won a Naledi award for her performance.

Last year she performed in Boykie and Girlie at Alexander Upstairs, acting opposite Craig Morris in a play by Allan Horwitz. (Morris also plays the manipulative Tartuffe in this production.)

In addition to performing, Green also directs. She received an Ovation Award at the 2015 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown for Have You Seen Zandile?, which she directed.

In Tartuffe, Green plays Elmire - wife of Orgon - played by Neil McCarthy. Tartuffe (Craig Morris) tries to seduce Elmire while he is a guest in Orgon’s house.

Tartuffe tries to derail one of her stepdaughter’s relationships. He is the house guest from hell.

But Elmire is not one to be duped. Green says: “Elmire is an astute woman. Fierce and fearless She is clever and uses her wits to reveal the dark parts of Tartuffe to her husband.

“When everyone tries to convince Orgon he is malicious, she instead challenges the strong ideals that Orgon holds towards his pious friend, acting to persuade Orgon to see the truth.”

Green relishes being on stage and behind the scenes, directing: “I love discovering that very difficult conversation between directing and acting. I’ve found that it’s hard at times to divorce the director when you’re in an action role.

“But that hat must be put aside. I suppose this is why I don’t always subscribe to the title of director, but rather consider myself a collaborator. What we do is collaboration.”

Have You Seen Zandile? will be going to the Soweto theatre in October. Green will be revisiting a work titled The Revolution between My Thighs and directing a physical theatre piece titled An Epitaph for Maki Skosana.

“To some extent I see myself as an activist and I suppose the theatre gods find ways to align me to works that speak to that part of me - plays and stories that challenge the human condition and interrogate that perspective from an individual focus to a collective one,” says Green.

A good example is Lineage: Herstory - the play she co-directed in 2015 with Tshego Khutsoane.

“I have always been interested in the female narrative and not very impressed by how there is such a lack of strong female characters who are given the platform to have conversations with themselves.

“The story was compiled from true accounts of women who made media headlines the show aims at documenting their journey, bringing to light some of the struggles and stigmas that do so well to perpetuate oppression and policing of a woman’s role, gender and sexuality.”

After the Baxter, Tartuffe will tour to the Courtyard Theatre in Durban, Fringe Theatre Joburg, The National Arts Festival and will wrap up in Port Elizabeth.

* Tickets are R110 to R160. Bookings at www.computicket.com or 0861 915 8000.