How do you tackle rape in a live performance, and what transformative impact does that hold? The disturbingly real rape scene in writer-director Paul Grootboom’s Relativity, held up a mirror to misogyny and showed the ugliness of its violence. Lara Foot’s heavily poignant and catatonically silent, Tshepang, reminds us never to forget the gruesome horror that befell the 9-month-old rape victim in 2001. Egyptian playwright Sara Shaarawi, with her story Niqabi Ninja, is unapologetically angry as she responds to the mob sexual assaults on women at demonstrations at Tahrir Square in Cairo, cleverly pitting that against the rise of female comic superheroes in popular culture. With The Same Pain, a new play that premiers at the Soweto Theatre on February 7, director and playwright Carla Fonseca moves beyond her anger to devise confrontational protest theatre that tackles rape culture head on. The work interrogates gender-based violence by showing its multiple hues — there isn’t one way to ...

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