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PENIS DRAWS RESPONSE (article first published : 2003-09-9)

In an offbeat response to the acclaimed and controversial The Vagina Monologues, Copy Dog Productions present a sensational new take in Uncut – The Penis Monologues which opened last week at the Square Space Theatre on the University of Natal Durban campus.

Directed by multi-award winning director, Garth Anderson, this newly scripted adults-only show stars Clinton Marius in a raunchy, entertaining and challenging look at male sexuality - and what being a man means in the 21st century!

Actor and playwright Clinton Marius made his first professional appearance singing the lead role in Menotti’s opera, Amahl and the Night Visitors at the age of 12. He has written his own material in the fields of fiction and theatre since his teens. A “flower power generation baby” from Pietermaritzburg, he is a published poet and now lives in Durban where he teaches metaphysics and runs The LightHouse, a non-profit organization that seeks to further Ascension teachings in South Africa. A focused philosophy of thought that seeks to break barriers and embraces alternative outlooks enables him to work creatively in a wide variety of genres. He co-produced and performed in the A Slice of Madness festival at Kwasuka Theatre in October 2000. Clinton was last seen onstage in Durban in January 2003 in The Divine Child, a production directed by Wendy Nell that he created as “a journey to find the forgotten child”, using allegory and story-telling.

In April 2003 he founded the Fools Awards in KZN in recognition of arts practitioners’ contributions to the theatre industry in this region. Clinton’s performance alongside Greig Coetzee in Kobus Moolman’s Soldier Boy, winner of the BBC world-wide radio drama competition, was broadcast internationally in May this year. In June he appeared in his bilingual drama, Vergissmeinnicht (now titled Farm of Secrets), directed by Caroline Smart, which premiered to much critical acclaim at this year’s National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

“Since we opened last week It has been most encouraging to find strong support from so many women in the audience, as the show is designed to demystify male issues and break down the barriers and antipathy resulting from the tone of The Vagina Monologues, a show that has alienated men even more than before,“ says director Garth Anderson.

Uncut – The Penis Monologues is a contentious script and includes invited contributions from a number of high-profile local writers. It sheds light on seldom-discussed issues such as circumcision, chauvinism, homophobia, impotence, penis enlargement, and sex changes, among others. The varied collection of monologues is frank, sexy and often outrageous.

Its publicity poster, with the inclusion of the word “penis”, finally escaped banning this week after extensive deliberation by the civic authorities but may not be erected outside schools, being an adults only show.

“One of my greatest pleasures is to direct a completely new and untried script, and over my career I have been lucky enough to get my hands on a few of these precious uncut gems,” says Garth Anderson. When Clinton first asked me to work on Uncut - The Penis Monologues, I knew that I had discovered another diamond in the raw.

“There are two reasons why I love this play. Firstly, Uncut says exactly what I think about men: we never grow up! We are really all just little boys in men’s clothing. We think like little boys, we hurt like little boys, we play like little boys. We try to be adult and look at things seriously and philosophically and scientifically and carefully, and very often we succeed. But, most of the time, that’s not the way it turns out …

“Secondly, the opportunity to present Uncut is filled with potential. Potentially a great hit, filled with all the elements of theatrical success, it is funny as well as being insightful and true. As all true theatre should, it gives its audience the chance to laugh while seriously considering its subject matter …”

Uncut – The Penis Monologues runs at the University of Natal’s Square Space Theatre in Durban until September 21. Performances Tuesdays to Saturdays at 19h30 and Sundays at 18h30. Tickets R50. Booking is through Computicket or call 011-340 8000 or log onto www.computicket.com Enquiries on 031 201 3739.




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