Award winning script No Easter Sunday For Queers by Koleka Putuma, to make its debut at the Market Theatre
NO EASTER SUNDAY FOR QUEERS follows the hate crime murderlove story of Napo and Mimi. The lovers, through the spirit, subconscious, Easter Sunday sermon, return on the anniversary of their wedding death crucifixion to make the church pastor perpetrator Father reconcile reckon with the present and the past and a sacrifice crucifixion he must account for. The alter is a cross and the subconscious a court room where the dead seek justice for a an act sin committed by their perpetrators. The antagonist protagonists cannot any more tell the past from the present and scripture from the truth. Every year, through the visitations on Easter Sunday the pastor and his church is made to remember.
NO EASTER SUNDAY FOR QUEERS the play, is a continuation and adaptation of a poem by the same name published in Collective Amnesia (2017), an award winning collection of poems by Koleka Putuma. The poem is addressed to Putuma’s father who is a preacher and orthodox Christian. The letter, which is in the form of a poem, asks him, the father, if he would preach about her, if she were murdered and crucified like Jesus Christ. It asks if he would preach about her death with the same passion and commitment he exhibits when he preaches about Jesus Christ, someone he has never met, let alone raised.
The play explores the relationship between Napo and her Father, Pastor Nkosi and Napo’s lover, Mimi. At the beginning of the play the two lovers are deceased and return, through the subconscious of the father, on the anniversary of their death which coincides with Easter Sunday. The lovers return to recount their death in their own words and to insist that the church and father do not forget how and why they died.
The play aims to name and emphasise the murder of queer people, specifically lesbians, as hate crimes. The statistic of hate crimes in South Africa is outrageously high and most of them go unrecorded and unaccounted for, and they are often recorded as just deaths or crimes and not categorised as a result of hate for LGBTQI communities or crimes justified by religious beliefs endorsed by a justice system that does not protect or recognise queer lives. The play also aims to highlight the complexities of hate crimes and other forms of violence within our most intimate relationships; our families and religious communities, and how those relationships are sometimes the leading causes of hate crimes and the lens through which broader South African society sees and persecutes queer love. The play emphasises how the lives of queer people are often in danger in so-called sacred and safe spaces, and it asks the church and religious communities to examine their complicity in the perpetuation of hate crimes and the persecution of queer lives.
PLAY DEVELOPMENT / HISTORY
The play was first developed in 2017 under the CASA Award, (a collaboration between the Playwrights Guild of Canada Women’s Caucus and the African Women Playwrights Network), under the mentorship of Canadian playwright Diane Flacks and Johannesburg based, Zambian theatre maker and scholar, Mwenya Kabwe. The play was further developed as part of the Imbewu Trust playwrighting award in 2018. It has recently won the 2019 Distell Playwrighting Award and will make its debut at the Market Theatre in August 2019. An excerpt of No Easter Sunday For Queers, directed by British Nigerian theatre maker, Femi Elufowoju Jr. will be staged at the Roundhouse in London as part of the Global Black Voices; excerpts of plays by black writers from around the globe in August 2019. The play will also be published by Junkets later this year.