The Coronavirus crisis has had a devastating effect on the performing arts the world over, with no exception to Namibian theatre, but in the words of the iconic band Queen, “the show must go on.”
Since the start of the pandemic, many theatres have been streaming theatre productions on various online platforms and even premiering shows on these platforms. Boet & Sus, from writer and director Lize Ehler’s will be the first live-streamed offering from the National Theatre of Namibia in its 2019/20 theatre season under the Premier programme.
The show, previously scheduled to premiere on 23 April 2020, was postponed after national coronavirus regulations closed theatres and prohibited public gatherings. Now, with things gradually getting back to normal, the show is back and this time with a determination and in the words of of Ehlers, the cast and crew of this production are incredibly charged and excited for how it will turn out.
“Rehearsals are tough for actors who wear masks or face shields but we are taking all necessary steps to make this work, safely,” Ehlers says.
Boet & Sus, which stars Ehlers, Adriano Visagie, Rodelio Lewis and Roberto Menneguzzo, is a multimedia theatre production that melts the commonalities and differences between “kallids” coloureds and drag queens in present Namibia. The part talkshow-part-dragshow is in Afrikaans and English and features live musc from Imms Nicolau.
“I hope the audience sees how important it is for us to embrace ‘kallid‘ and drag culture and see how important representation of minorities is,”
On the look and feel incorporated in the production, Ehlers highlights that turquoise and white have always been staple colours in the “kallid” community and that she wanted to honor that.
“I wanted to stay authentic to the story by only casting coloured actors. Adriano Visagie plays Boet aka Alaska. Rodelio Lewis plays Miss Mavis & Roberto Meneguzzo plays Gigi has Arrived. I play Sus. It is a necessary story of friendship & kinship that cuts through a community of prejudice and ignorance,” Ehlers explains.
Ehlers says she was inspired by her own life experiences, the lives of her coloured drag performer colleagues, friends and family, including Netflix’s Pose.
“It is because the queer community is so brave and creative that we see the urgency and need in telling these stories. As an ally, I see it is as a necessity to tell the stories of our ‘kallid‘ and queer communities in Namibia.”
The creative team is also made up of Marchell Linus as Choreographer, Martin Amushendje with Video Documentation support, Miss Jey Arts as Make-Up Artist and costumes by Ingo Shanyenge.
The tickets, dates and times of the show are yet to be announced. Join the online Theatre Talk on the National Theatre of Namibia’s Facebook page on 18 August 2020, at 18h00 to meet the creative team and cast, and learn more insights into the production.