Are men doing enough to tackle the scourge of violence against women and children?
This is the premise of the Baxter Theatre Centre’s latest flagship production #JustMen: a show that calls on men to unite and take a stand.
This multilingual docudrama for men and about men is performed by South African men who tell their personal stories, and in so doing attempt to take a stand against the epidemic of gender-based violence in the country.
#JustMen will have its world premiere at the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio, and runs for two weeks only, from 13 to 30 June, at 19:30 nightly.
“The need to start open discussions, take ownership and outlaw this horrific scourge has become urgent.”
In the wake of the #MeToo disclosures, where countless women broke their silence on incidents of sexual harassment and assault, the time for men to take collective ownership of what is, fundamentally, a men’s issue, is long overdue.
“We have brought about this production to instigate change,” said Baxter CEO and artistic director Lara Foot. “We would like to invite all men, and especially leaders … to come and see and support this vital work.
“The need to start open discussions, take ownership and outlaw this horrific scourge has become urgent. Become part of the movement to help transform our society into a safer and healthier environment,” she said.
Directed by UCT alumnus Heinrich Reisenhofer, the cast is made up of Loukmaan Adams, Thando Doni, Sherman Pharo and Johan Baird.
The collective workshopped the piece over the course of four weeks of rigorous research and rehearsals.
The resultant piece is honest and empowering.
“How do we as men show up, make our voices heard and fight this problem?”
“This is a very personal project for me, about bringing healing and transformation into the theatre space and engaging [in] a brave and vulnerable conversation about men taking responsibility, not just for the men we want to be, but the kind of world we want to be part of,” said Reisenhofer.
“It is inspired by the remarkable work of programmes such as the Mankind Project and Imbadu Men’s Project that asks the question: ‘What do we as men need to address, amongst men, to transform these issues?’ ”
A journey of healing
For the past seven years, Reisenhofer has journeyed into the arena of healing and personal transformation, where he has been training and working as a coach and facilitator.
In his coaching, Reisenhofer specialises in shame and shadow work: guiding participants to forgive, break old patterns of behaviour and take charge of their biographical storytelling.
This coaching journey was born out of his own healing process, and in learning to deal with relationships and experiences of shame as a man, carried from childhood.
Stepping up to the plate
“This is a conversation we can no longer avoid and a piece that every South African man needs to see. How do we as men show up, make our voices heard and fight this problem?” Reisenhofer said.
“We, therefore, call on men to engage critically and to have honest conversations about what we mostly avoid talking about.
“It has become clear that we need to transform our responsibility, accountability and behaviour around the culture of male abuse of women and children.”
#JustMen runs at the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio from 13 to 30 June at 19:30 nightly. There is an age restriction of 16 years.
For discounted group or block bookings, contact Leon van Zyl.
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