HOMOSEXUALITY : A REALITY STILL TO BE EMBRACED
By Bliss Ndapasowa
It is amazing how people still scream and show disgust at the sight of romantic gestures between partners of the same sex.
This however did not act as a pulling down effect for upcoming director Nqobile Cele from Durban University of Technology’s drama and production studies department who was more than proud to showcase his directing skills in the play, originally written by Paul Boakye titled ‘Boy with Beer’.
With the main theme being homosexual and bisexual suppression the ‘controversial’ piece was performed yesterday at the Festival of New Directors currently running at DUT’s Indian Cane Growers Hall.
The play is about two black men; a gay and a bisexual guy who have a fling once, try to be friends afterwards but eventually realise that they have feelings for each other. The play carries strong themes greatly relevant to society such as discrimination of gay black men in a democratic South Africa, HIV/AIDS and identity.
The production stirred controversy within the audience as characters engaged in romantic activities such as kissing and other sexual forms of expressing compassion.
Smoothly performed, the piece touched on inadequately tapped genres in theatre such as homosexual behavior and the odds they face in an attempt to fit in within an unwelcoming society. Cele, director of Boy with Beer therefore said it was his way of creating awareness of the existence homosexual and bisexuals and curbing levels of their victimization. He also expressed his disappointed in the audience’s reaction, which mostly comprised students, and described it as another form of abuse and oppression of gay people in a democratic South Africa.
As it was the festival opening, Cele’s play was accompanied by another production also directed by third year DUT drama student, Kagisho Tsimakwne titled, Relativity “Township Stories”.
As the festival runs, famous play such as Mbongeni Ngema’s ‘Sarafina’ and Maishe Maponya’s ‘The Nurse’ are productions to look out for this week. ‘Looking into the Abyss’, a production originally written and performed by DUT drama graduates will also be featured at the festival.
Theatre Manager, Mthandazo Mofokeng said that the department is producing a great deal of talent hence support, both within and outside the institution is vital. His main concern was the levels of publicity for such events.
“Unfortunately not enough word is out there when it comes to these type of festivals yet they are a platform for our students to showcase their talent. We would therefore like to have a relationship with all media entities within the institution to create necessary publicity”, he said.
He further stated that the department hosts similar productions such as scriptwriting and play reading festivals which are to be held during the course of the year.
The festival opening was however graced by the presence of the institution’s officials namely head of drama department Professor Debbie Lute among others.
The event will run from 18:00 hrs to 20:00 hrs everyday until Thursday the 17th of this month with free entrance. Second phase of the festival is due to be launched in July this year.