(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC) has announced a staged reading of “The Tent” from South African playwright Megan Furniss, which will be live-streamed on Saturday, January 22, at 12:00pm E.T. The play, directed by Zane Gillion, is the latest work to be presented at the arts organization’s third annual Voice International Theatre Festival.
In “The Tent,” set in a tiny rural town in South Africa, a couple pitches their tent alongside the local gas station and store in the middle of the night. The appearance of Ruth, who is white, and Samson, who is black, rocks the town. The community subsequently splits down the middle, with fear, racism, hatred, and violence at odds with kindness and healing. “The Tent” is ultimately a story that concerns the ‘other’ and the phobia that it can spark.
“When I wrote the play in 2009, my perspective was very much a South African one, but now I think the play has become more universal. Through theatre and story, it is a warning about the darkness rising in our world. When we ignore racism and dismiss microaggressions and petty acts of violence, the perpetrators get bolder and more violent, as seen through the characters in ‘The Tent.’ It is as if, by ignoring them, they are granted permission to be their worst selves at no cost to them,” shares Furniss.
About the Voices International Theatre Festival, curator Jacquelyn de Villiers adds, “The festival is a mammoth global cultural connector creating a network of storylines between artists and audiences across the continents. This ‘potjiekos’ (delicious stew) of creatives from other countries offers a virtual campfire where we can listen to different perspectives and indulge in unique ways of seeing and experiencing the world. It is deeply satisfying to be part of this powerful circle of global theatre-loving citizens who are all passionate about stories and the profound effect they have on our DNA.”
Following “The Tent,” the festival will present works from 3 additional South African playwrights, also as live-streamed staged readings: Warren Nebe’s “Lockdown” on Saturday, February 12; Deborah Vieyra’s play “The Bluebottles” on Saturday, March 12; and Palesa Mazamisa’s “Lazy Boy” on Saturday, May 14. Performances begin at noon E.T.
Tickets ($10) are available for purchase at www.jctcenter.org. Accessibility accommodations for all events include closed captioning. In addition, a transcript can be made available in accessible large print or Braille, and sign language interpretation is also available upon request.
Directed by Zane Gillion with stage direction by Namisa Mdlalosi, the cast includes Megan Metrikin (as Ruth), James Scruggs (as Samson), Timothy Covington (as Sello), Caren Skibell (as Susan and Customer 1), Hamilton Clancy (as Charlie and B.P.), Zane Gillion (as Priest and Lungelo), Tiaan Rautenbach (as Willem)
Founded in 2006, Jersey City Theater Center is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) arts organization committed to inspiring conversations about important issues of our times through the arts.
PHOTO: (LEFT) Director Zane Gillion (RIGHT) Playwright Megan Furniss