A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

drama
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

BREASTS (article first published : 2000-12-8)

When the production starts off with a naked man peering round the curtains, both hands protecting his privacy, and asks someone off stage if he can “go all the way tonight”, it’s a sure fire way to get the audience’s attention!

Not that Greig Coetzee needs any gimmicks to capture attention. His new play Breasts – a play about men directed by Garth Anderson has the potential to follow in the footsteps of his smash-hit White Men With Weapons although the two are as different as Koki pens and Emmenthal.

Considering its army setting and the characters involved, White Men is taut energy, confrontational and often aggressive – but that’s the nature of its reference point. Breasts – a play about men is far calmer, more introspective and thought-provoking and certain of the characters are similar in their personalities. But the sharp focus of Greig’s highly observant writing is just as much in evidence.

The subject of breasts comes in various guises. An out-of-work cabaret dancer, now a model for an art class (the first character mentioned), agonises that his ex-wife has taken away his visiting rights to his daughter who is on the verge of womanhood. He needs to be there to protect her against people like himself.

In tracksuit and floppy hat, a stammering lifeskills camp counsellor suddenly finds himself becoming aware of the nubile attractions of the young women he has in his charge. Then there’s the best man at the wedding of two of his oldest friends, making tasteless jokes and embarrassing the bridal party. A swift turn, slight shift of costume and within seconds this character has become the bridegroom. Equally ill-at-ease, he goes from bad to worse. Both have much to say about the bride’s physical endowments.

This is followed by the longest but what I consider the best-written piece of the play and one that could be built up to stand on its own. Hippie Girls is set at the graveside of a hippie woman who died of AIDS. Named after the Hindu deity Rama (and not the margarine!) her son defies her wishes to be cremated and puts her in a grave “so that her boychild knows where to find her.” While he doesn’t “do sex”, he talks about the break-up of his latest relationship, a young girl who resembled his mother so closely she also had a butterfly tattooed on one of her buttocks.

Frank and Me is a light-hearted and delightful piece in the sense that it takes a short while to work out who exactly Frank is! In One Run, the character is firmly glued to the television set watching cricket, gritting his teeth against his wife’s inane remarks and planning his revenge when she watches her favourite wildlife programme. Pretty is firmly set in the new South Africa and has an appealing poignancy as does the short Six Inches with a nervous schoolboy measuring an all-important piece of his anatomy.

Between them, Greig Coetzee and Garth Anderson have garnered an awesome stack of awards for White Men with Weapons. Once the play has settled down and been honed to its full potential, there’s no reason why Breasts shouldn’t repeat the success of its “big brother”!

Breasts - a play about men runs in the Square Space Theatre at the University of Natal Durban until December 30 with performances Tuesday to Saturday at 19h30 and Sunday at 18h00. Book at Computicket or Teletix on (031) 304-2753 or at http://www.computicket.com

For those who haven’t yet seen “White Men with Weapons” there are two matinee performances on December 9 and 16 at 14h30.




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart