The Straight and Narrow

The Straight and Narrow


Date: June 1, 2011
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The Straight and Narrow is a play devised by level one BFA students with some help from David Kerr as course tutor. It deals with the topic of homophobia, and is intended to open up a dialogue on this topic.

It needs to be remembered that the anti-sodomy laws of Botswana (especially Section 164 of the Penal Code) criminalises sexual activities by members of the same sex. A member of an informal pressure group, Lesbians Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO), Caine Youngman challenged the constitutionality of these laws, by filing a case at the High court in February this year. So the relatively inexperienced students who decided on the topic of homophobia were doing so knowing the controversial nature of the issue.

The play is structured around two major counselling sessions by Kebi, a counsellor at Lifeline. The first session is with a young lesbian, Alicia, the second with a virulent homophobe, Fulele. The play examines the reasons and results of their life-choices. Alicia and Fulele eventually meet by accident in Kebi’s office, which leads to the explosive conclusion of the play. Many of the students’ concerns in the creation of the play were in the avoidance of gender stereotypes.

The Straight and Narrow was performed at the University of Botswana as well as to audiences at two different venues in Gaborone as part of the annual Maitisong Arts Festival. At UB the boisterous audience seemed to be divided in whether they sympathised with the gay and lesbian characters or with the homophobes. The Festival performances were to smaller, more restrained audiences, and led to interesting post-performance discussions. LEGABIBO has requested the students to revive the play in the new academic year.

The attached extracts may give some idea of the issues raised by The Straight and Narrow.


Download : Straight and Narrow extracts

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