October 21, 2011 — The Washington, D.C.-based women's theater collective, the Saartjie Project, will present "Deconstructing the Myth of the Booty" on Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. in the University of Virginia's Old Cabell Hall Auditorium. Admission is free, but tickets must be reserved in advance of the event, which is sponsored by U.Va.'s Carter G. Woodson Institute of African-American and African Studies in the College of Arts & Sciences.
Drawing on visual art, drama and dance, "Deconstructing the Myth of the Booty" explores intersections of gender, race, embodiment and power through a series of vignettes using the life of Saartjie Baartman as an entry point. Baartman was a 19th-century South African woman who was taken from her homeland and crudely displayed in Europe from 1810 to 1815. She was given the show name "Hottentot Venus" and dressed in feathers and sheer clothing to "enhance" her pronounced physical features that Westerners deemed hypersexual and exotic.
The performance piece debuted at the 2009 Fringe Festival in Washington, D.C., to critical acclaim, with a Washington Post review saying, "This nine-woman collective goes beyond mere attitude and finds plenty of illuminating things to say ... the troupe never lacks for ideas or understanding."
The Saartjie Project visit is the centerpiece of the Woodson Institute's Senior Seminar, "The Black Body in Transnational Translation."
The audience will be limited to 100 attendees to guarantee a more intimate experience. Contact Barbara Boswell at email@example.com to reserve tickets, which can be picked up on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., in Minor Hall, room 139, or by appointment.