Past Event

Voyeurs de Venus

Runs March 17th – Through April 15th

Lydia Diamond‘s play, Voyeurs de Venus, dramatizes the corrosive effects of sexism and racism in Europe during the 1800s as it brings to life the hauntingly true story of the voluptuous and proud African woman, Saartjie Baartman.

Ms. Baartman was a South African woman taken from her home in 1810 and displayed on the streets of Europe. She is most often and derogatorily referred to as “The Hottentot Venus.” The play explores her life and the life of a modern African-American cultural anthropologist challenged with telling her story to a modern audience.

Reservations can be made with the Chicago Dramatists: 312.633.0630.

Special Public Square at the IHC Discounted Prices available bymentioning the Public Square at the IHC when you make a reservation AND bring in a print-out of the Public Square Email Notice (email the Public Square at the IHC for a copy of the Email Notice):

Sunday, March 19: $10 off regular ticket price.

Any other regular performance: $5 off the regular ticket price.

Regular Performances:

March 17th through April 15th

Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 8:00 PM

Sundays at 3:00 PM

Regular Ticket Prices:

$20 Thursdays & Sundays

$25 Fridays & Saturdays

$10 Student Performances

After you’ve seen the show…

Join us at a Café Society discussion on…

Justifying Racism and the Invention of Race: the Case of Saartjie Baartman, the “Venus Hottentot”

Saartjie Baartman was the 4-foot-7-inch survivor of the slaughtered Khoikhoi people of Britain’s Cape Colony (now South Africa) who, as a servant was taken from South Africa, and then exhibited as a freak across Britain. She became the object of scientific and medical research that formed the bedrock of racist, European ideas about racial inferiority and black female sexuality. Her “keeper” billed her as the “Hottentot Venus” because of her body shape and mythically large genitalia. After Baartman’s death, parts of her body were kept and studied by scientists intent on preserving their supposed proof of African inferiority.

Although this case seems horrifying to us today, there are more subtle and perhaps not so subtle contemporary cases where we appeal to “science” and exoticize difference and the “other” in order to justify our own racist beliefs.

Join us for a Café Society Conversation the week of April 11 through April 14 at a Cafe Society near you.

For more information, please contact Catherine Chandler at 312.422.5580.