from the World’s Wife.
UKZN’s Drama and Performance Studies Department presented Adam’s Rib: Statements from the World’s Wife, directed by Ms Tamar Meskin and Ms Tanya van der Walt, at the Space Theatre on Howard College campus from 4-7 November.
The production is inspired by poems in The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy, interwoven with contemporary feminist retellings of fairy tales, myths and history, including Jeanette Winterson’s Twelve Dancing Princesses and Margaret Atwood’s Penelopiad, shaped into a stylised performance.
The production was performed by 2015 Honours students, Ms Segametsi Gaobepe, Ms Lisa Goldstone, Ms Samantha Le Febour, Ms Patricia Mokoteli, Mr Sboniso Msimango, Ms Londiwe Ngema, Ms Beverly Qwabe, Ms Erina Rautenbach, and Ms Camilla Rogers.
Speaking about the use of Duffy’s poems, Ngema said: ‘The poems are funny, sometimes angry, both short and sometimes lengthy, and adopt a postmodern feminist stance with a vengeance. Think of it as, in Catherine Lanone’s words, “a revision of archetypal scenarios in order to allow the female characters – who were not part of the story to begin with – to reclaim both speech and existence, not to mention sexual power”.’
Rogers added: ‘The stories subvert the dramatic monologue from His/story into Her/story, and each poem is written from the perspective of the wife/partner, real or imagined, of famous men in history, fiction and mythology.’
Msimango, the lone man in the production, says the play is ‘challenging to perform, especially because of the heightened language and the emphasis on imagining an alternate subtext’, but he was excited to have performed it.
Le Febour, who plays the biblical Salome, said: ‘The play is very challenging, particularly in terms of the diversity of the characters presented and is one of the best by far that we as students have been able to participate in. The process in total has been very rewarding.’
Said Gaobepe: ‘This production may be made of children’s stories but it is most definitely not child’s play. It asks us to confront some of the most famous stories from our past and rethink them from an alternative perspective, in the process reconstructing the very fabric from which our culture is stitched.’
The production proved to be a huge success with many patrons commenting on the uniqueness and talent of the performers.