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The Price Of Meat: A Theatrical Exploration Of Space Women Occupy In Our Society Today

BY STELLA WAAFRIKA


There's always something cool happening around our neck of the woods, you just have to be alert and sometimes a liker of things to be in the know.... This time around, it's a group of young South African women telling compelling stories, using theatre as a platform of expression. The theatre play titled The Price of Meat is depicted by a cast of seven members, Khuanita BrightRobyn WillamsMegan SaaymanKim FesterAnray AmansureChiron Swarts and Lobcke Hein.

The play is a theatrical exploration of space women occupy in our society today. What started out as a project for Art School, turned into a popular professional stage production. The production explores experiences these women face; from depression, to lust, domesticity, twerking and so forth. The title stems from the narrative of how a female body is a commodity onto which society places the price tag of sex, love and responsibility. But who owns it, who's buying and who's selling? What is ‘the price of meat’?

Running for nearly three years, since 2014, the themes of the play remain relevant not to mention relatable to the realities women face in society today.  They have gone from small theatre spaces, to the ArtsCape, the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown and now participating in the Cape Town's Fringe Festival.

I had a few questions for the ladies, this is what they had to say:

The Price of Meat. Why the name and how did it come about?     
Generally, today's society have labeled females' bodies as pieces of meat. This play explores just how much we perceive the price of this meat to be, how much or little this 'product' is valued and how much we are willing to pay. The Price of Meat was derived from the main theme of the play.

There's seven of you, is there a common denominator when you relate your stories? If so, what is the denominator?
The common denominator here is the burdens that these women carry. They're not necessarily the exact same burdens but a burden nonetheless. Every woman out there is carrying one caused by the body they are in or the sex they're labeled as (female).

Are we really free to express ourselves? - even though it's a human right. Are we considered human or woman? Because humans get to wear or look however or whatever they want while women have to consider the consequences of what of what they wear, when they wear it and where they wear it to. Who is policing? Is it men, women, humans?


Megan, you're one of the newest members of the group, what does it mean to be part of such a cast that depicts relevant not to mention relatable stories?
"It's been an amazing experience. I joined this production, ignorant of many of the themes covered in this play due to the world or society leading me to believe that it's "normal" for women to face the challenges we are dealt. Whether it be something as 'simple' as catcalling, all the way to abuse and rape, even murder... This play has taught me not only what it means to be a woman but also that I'm not alone. I also learned that the seriousness of women inferiority to men is so much that we had to pick a day specifically for women, in which our importance ought to be emphasised - just in case anyone forgets..."

What's your take on the female body being policed day in day out?
Firstly, it restricts us from expressing ourselves. The world has evolved to a point where we use clothing to express ourselves. Yet, when a man chooses to be topless it is considered normal or okay but when a woman shows "too much skin" or wear certain clothing it is considered 'inappropriate'. Which leads us to the Question: Are we really free to express ourselves? - even though it's a human right. Are we considered human or woman? Because humans get to wear or look however or whatever they want while women have to consider the consequences of what of what they wear, when they wear it and where they wear it to. Who is policing? Is it men, women, humans?

Why we need such platforms?
The obvious reason is to create awareness but these platforms are also needed to let women know that they're never alone, that there is someone out there who is going through the exact same thing, someone who can empathise and understand. It also lets women know that we can do something about it, that we shouldn't be afraid to say something. It also educates men about the significant influence some of their actions have on women.

It teaches women how we contribute to our own destruction just the same. It's a message that everyone, male or female, can take something from. It's a story with an open ending, leaving you with the decision as to what the price of meat really is.

Catch this stellar cast at the 2016 Cape Town Fringe Festival on 4,5, 6, and 8 October at the Cape Town City Hall. Tickets are available here.

Photo Credit:  The Price of Meat  | Facebook

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