Venus- African Community Theatre
Venus (1996) by Susan-Lori Parks
Saartjie "Sarah" Bartman (1790-1815)
A satirical tale of agency, voyeurism and a circus freak show
Directed by D. Amy Rose Forbes-Erickson, Ph.D. Performed by Pan-African Theatre Ensemble
Produced by special arrangement with Creative Artists Agency, New York, N.Y.
Opening: Thursday, March 16, 2017 – Saturday, March 18, 2017 – 8pm Doors open at 7 pm
Talkback on Saturday, March 18, 2017 after the show
Sunday, March19, 2017 – 2pm MATINEE ONLY
Venus by Suzan-Lori Parks (b. 1963) recalls the true and historic account of Saartjie “Sarah” Baartman (1790-1815) who was kidnapped from her Khoikhoi people in South Africa in 1810 and paraded in freak shows in London and Paris. Baartman, dubbed “The Hottentot Venus,” was forced to publicly display her genitalia and buttocks, considered “abnormal” by European standards in the early nineteenth century. With a satiric and witty Brechtian style, Parks peels away the layers of ironies, tragedy, agency, and access to Baartman’s body in freak shows and medical experiments. Through visual metaphors for fetish and voyeurism, this production of Venus explores Baartman’s objectification and the perils of historic and contemporary spectacles by black women in popular culture.
Suzan-Lori Parks is one of the most acclaimed African American playwrights and novelists. She has received numerous prestigious awards, and is the first African American woman recipient of the Pulitzer Prize and the MacArthur Genius Award.