‘Pieces of Me’ invites theatregoers to explore their hidden identities

Multi-award winning actress Bo Petersen in ‘Pieces of Me’. Picture: INSTAGRAM

Multi-award winning actress Bo Petersen in ‘Pieces of Me’. Picture: INSTAGRAM

Published Jul 10, 2024


Written and performed by South African actress Bo Petersen, this stage production is a deeply moving and personal story that explores the unspoken histories that many of us carry within.

"Pieces of Me“, which features Chris Petersen on piano and is directed by Royston Stoffels, dives into the complexities of family secrets and how their lasting impact shapes our identities.

Renowned American novelist and editor, Toni Morrison once famously said: "No one ever talks about the moment you found that you were white. Or the moment you found out you were black. That's a profound revelation. The minute you find that out, something happens. You have to renegotiate everything."

The show echoes this sentiment as it offers an exploration of how our personal histories shape who we are and how we see the world.

In an interview with Weekend Argus, Petersen, who has starred in movies such as “Chronicle”, “Safe House” and “The Bone Snatcher”, revealed that she grew up in a white family during apartheid South Africa.

When she was 19, she uncovered a life-altering secret about her father, who from 28, lived as a white man. He was forced to conceal his true identity to get married to the love of his life, who is a white woman, and before democracy, marriages between people of different races were not permitted.

This revelation profoundly changed her life as she became the custodian of his secret. She began writing the play in order to understand her father "passing" as white and, in turn, her own identity.

They became collaborators in their knowledge and silence, a theme central to the show.

She explained to the publication that she initially staged “Pieces of Me” last year in its germinal phase at Theatre Arts in Observatory. Since then, it has taken on a life of its own.

“What the apartheid regime tried with all its inhumane laws to tear apart, we are evidence that it has failed. The painful price, however, that our families have had to pay is unforgivable,” she was quoted as saying.

Petersen's performance brings to life the hidden stories and family secrets that many people can relate to but rarely discuss. These stories resonate with audiences, reflecting on the universal themes of identity, belonging and self-discovery.

"Pieces of Me" allows viewers to engage in a story that asks fundamental questions about who we are and how our identities are formed. It's an opportunity to reflect on your own history and the histories of those around you.

Where: The Baxter Studio at the Baxter Theatre Centre in Rondebosch.

When: From Wednesday, July 10 to July 27. All shows start at 8pm.

Cost: Tickets start from R165 and can be purchased from Webtickets.

“The Stories We Tell”

This production explores the intricate issues of religion, race, class, disability and language.

It examines how these elements have formed the basis of stigmatisation over time.

“The Stories We Tell” presents various viewpoints on these subjects, mirroring the world we live in and our collective experiences.

It not only addresses and dissects these difficult topics and social inequalities within our community, but it also demonstrates how, by uniting, we can dismantle the barriers that divide us and foster positive transformation.

Where: The Artscape Theatre in Foreshore.

When: From Thursday, July 11 to Saturday, July 13. All shows start at 7pm.

Cost: Tickets range between R80 to R120 and can be purchased from Webtickets.

Upcoming shows:

Arlene Petersen in ‘Plain Jane“. Picture: Webtickets.

“Plain Jane”

Gear up for a laughter-filled roller-coaster with this uproarious comedy special which takes theatregoers on a remarkable journey through the ordinary.

It centres around Arlene, (played by Arlene Petersen who wrote and stars in the show) the hilariously relatable protagonist as she goes through life's absurdities, from awkward encounters to mundane mishaps.

She defies expectations and fearlessly tackles challenges with humour as her secret weapon as she navigates the colourful streets of Lavender Hill.

“This unforgettable blend of wit, resilience and laughter proves that comedy knows no boundaries,” the producer said.

“Don't miss the extraordinary humour from the everyday girl next door's point of view.”

Where: The Masambe Theatre at the Baxter Theatre Centre.

When: From July 18 to July 20. All shows start at 7.30pm.

Cost: Tickets cost R100 and are available at Webtickets.