With Monday (13 August 2012) being student night at the DUT Courtyard Theatre, it (the theatre) was filled up to capacity as students came to watch the second last showing of the play Phaedra’s Love acted by students from the DUT Drama and Production Studies Department.
The play, originally written and directed by Sarah Kane in 1996, is a dark comedy with its humour as well as its dark and twisted content, setting back a few sensitive audience members. The production is set around the obsessive love and desire of Queen Phaedra for her stepson Hippolytus, whom is physically and emotionally repugnant.
Phaedra’s fatal passion for Hippolytus is therefore unreadable and terrifying. When she declares her love, in a scene of humiliation, he watches television and snacks unresponsively from a bag of lollies. This throws her off which leads to her suicide and her note accusing him of rape.
In this, Hippolytus turns to Phaedra’s daughter Strophe and says, “She really did love me, God Bless her soul”, as he walks out to turn himself in as he feels prison could not be worse than his home of failing royalty.
The play goes on to show the return of his father Theseus, to revenge his wife’s death. He joins a group of chavs (a gang) and kills his son. He also rapes his step daughter, not knowing it is her. After he realises what he has done, he asks the Lord for forgiveness as he cuts his throat and falls to his death next to his son and step daughter.
“From the beginning I was a bit lost as there was a lot happening but as the play went on I caught up and it was very interesting to watch”, said Nqobile Yeni, a DUT student who came to watch.
Cast member, Nokwanda Nhleko, who is a first-year drama student was very happy with the attendance, adding, “This is my first play, I still have the excitement I had on opening night, and so far it’s been an amazing experience. We had glitches along the way, but as the cast we came together”, she said.
Marcia Peschke, Director of the play and DUT Drama and Production Studies Department Lecturer said, “We had a stronger opening night, but I’m glad that this play was able to cause a creative debate as it stirs emotions while, showing concerns of feminism, the brutal nature of love and social relations.
And as for my students, I’m very proud as they learnt and grew executing the emotions perfectly”.