Cape Town - We all need a “safe space” to be ourselves and speak freely and honestly. Four men have chosen the Baxter Theatre Golden Arrow Studio as their safe space and invited us into it.
Heinrich Reisenhofer, Loukmaan Adams and Thando Doni and Peter Christians participate in this second instalment of "#JustMen", which runs for a limited season until 3 August at the theatre in Cape Town.
Director Reisenhofer, actors Adams and Doni, and Christians, a reformed convict and rap artist who now works as a facilitator for the Alternatives to Violence Project, share their own stories and “confront their own toxic masculinity, as a contributing factor in the violence against women and children”.
What is revealed on stage is the result of “a rigorous research and workshop process” and is raw, honest and often heartbreaking.
First-timer Christians is as fully committed as the stage veterans and tells a story of drugs, abuse and murder that I will never forget.
When the spotlight is on Doni, he uses his moments and the stage well to convey a man grappling with the inconceivable acts of violence that men carry out, sometimes while other men stand by and do nothing.
But it’s not only storytelling, there is a call to action too: Show up! Own up! Open Up!
In response to this call and in this safe space, the engagement between the cast and the audience afterwards becomes so much more than a Q&A.
There is also an open invitation to a series of workshops for men on 20 July, 27 July and 3 August.
Last year, I came out of the theatre with tears in my eyes and out of breath and exhausted by all the emotions, sure that this was the play that would change the world. Watching this second instalment, I was still completely engaged and invested but also frustrated at how little progress has been made in the real world.
This is not an easy night out but it is an unforgettable one. For some it could be life-changing, if they let it.
Reisenhofer says about #JustMen: “This was probably one of the most difficult experiences these actors and I have ever gone through - to be willing to stare this legacy in the face and own it. The result was an overwhelmingly stirring and sometimes, shocking, but healing theatre experience. It changed and shifted the lives of so many people who saw the production. Since then I have had many people come up to me, telling me how hearing our stories - through this experience - brought closure to their own trauma. Inspiring them to take action and get involved in making a difference.”
Ticket prices are R120, R100 for block bookings of 10 or more and R80 for scholars and students.
Booking is through Webtickets on 086 111 0005, online at Webtickets or at Pick n Pay stores.
For discounted group or block-bookings contact Leon van Zyl on 021 680 3972 or email him at [email protected]