By Suzan-Lori Parks
Directed by Judyie Al-Bilali
In Venus, Suzan-Lori Parks remembers and re-imagines the historical figure of Sarah Baartman, known to the world as "the Hottentot Venus." In the early 19th century, Baartman, a Khoisan woman from South Africa, was taken from her country and displayed across Europe as a freak and a medical anomaly for her large buttocks. Venus examines how mainstream culture views Black bodies, specifically Black female bodies. Parks uses Baartman's story and the medium of theater as a powerful platform to ask audience members to consider what it means to watch, to be seen, and to engage in a performance. Because Venus' sexuality is taboo, is it not indecent for the audience to watch her? Is Venus, in re-imagining Baartman, objectifying her all over again? Expect to leave Parks' Obie Award-winning play engaged in passionate discussions with your fellow audience members.