In the wings: Moxie explores a complex moment from history in ‘Venus’

Cashae Monya (left) and Joy Jones star in Moxie Theatre’s “Voyeurs de Venus.”
(Jennifer Eve Thorn)

In the early 1800s, Europeans gathered to gawk at Saartjie Baartman, a Khoikhoi woman from South Africa who had been dubbed the “Hottentot Venus” and put on display as a sideshow spectacle.

Lydia R. Diamond’s “Voyeurs de Venus” gives Baartman a new voice, as the play explores her story through the lens of a modern-day cultural anthropologist struggling with her own conflicts over her subject’s legacy.

Moxie co-founder and former artistic chief Delicia Turner Sonnenberg returns to direct this dance-filled, humor-laced saga, a San Diego premiere.

Her cast includes Joy Jones as Baartman and Cashae Monya as the cultural anthropologist Sara Washington; plus Fred Harlow (Alexander Dunlop), Cortez Johnson (James Booker), Justin Lang (James Bradford/Georges Cuvier), Max Macke (William Bullock/Carl Richards), Nancy Ross (Millicent Ducent/Becky), Lesa Green (dancer), Jocelynn Johnston (dancer) and Ashley Stewart (dancer).

Sonnenberg previously directed Diamond’s stage adaptation of Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” for Moxie; that production was named best drama in 2013 by the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle.

Voyeurs de Venus’

When: In previews. Opens Aug. 18. 7:30 p.m. Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. Through Sept. 9.

Where: Moxie Theatre, 6663 El Cajon Blvd, Rolando District.

Tickets: $18-$44 (discounts available).

Phone: (858) 598-7620


Twitter: @jimhebert