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


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