Fans of legal dramas and local theatre will not want to miss "Justice is a Woman," a highly emotive theatre production highlighting issues of gender inequality and the ethical dilemmas of the justice system, written by former KZN judge Chris Nicholson, directed by Paul Spence and starring a richly talented South African cast.
We spoke to Nicholson to find out more about his first production.
Tell us about the production?
Set in a KZN university in 2018, after the 2000-year exclusion of women as lawyers in the courtroom, Justice is a Woman tells the captivating story of a female post-graduate student’s molestation case against her male university professor. Some 20 years ago, I gave a talk on whether women have a place in the law. In researching the history of that topic, I came across fascinating details about how women came to be excluded from the practice of law. After writing a number of books I decided to write a play which incorporates features of the two stories. Fans of legal dramas and local theatre will not want to miss Justice is a Woman which is a highly emotive theatre production highlighting issues of gender inequality and the ethical dilemmas of the justice system. It is directed by Paul Spence, formerly of the Royal Shakespeare Company UK and starring a richly talented South African cast.”
This is your first production, are you nervous?
Yes it is, I am nervous that people won’t enjoy the story. I hope that people go away talking about the themes and their personal experiences, and encourage their friends to attend later performances.
Most of the time people watch theatre to escape reality - your production is a lot more serious - why do you think it's important for these type of productions to be showcased to people?
My career as a human rights lawyer meant that I was constantly representing those subject to discrimination and oppression in the courts. My writings also address the plight of those subject to discrimination in our society. I have written a number of books, including one about how the Nationalist Regime killed the Cradock Four. Another book addresses the sad career of the Indian golfer Papwa Sewgolum, another victim of the Apartheid system. So my sympathy for the oppressed has led me to portray the discrimination against women in the legal profession in my play. My stories often draw on factual occurrences that that raise interesting moral dilemmas. It’s easy to hear about similar cases and not delve further into the lives of the people involved; however, a production throws the audience into the situation as if it were their own. Productions force people to question and engage what they would do were they in a similar situation.
Why should they watch it?
To submerse yourself in a riveting story as played by local talent, to learn and discuss topical issues of justice, and to do something different with your friends and family.
What themes are explored?
The history of sexual discrimination of women in law, the #MeToo campaign and the different interpretations of justice.
Can we expect more productions from you?
Yes, I am working on another that is still in its early stages about women being exploited; however, it will still be some time before this is finished.
Performances run at Grace College from May 29 and 30 at Grace College, and from June 4 to 8 at the Hexagon Theatre, Pietermaritzburg.
Tickets from R80. For more information, follow @justiceisawoman on Facebook or contact Paul on [email protected] or 084 341 1742.