The question of the value of black lives and black bodies is more relevant than ever. This week, the University of Rochester International Theatre Program will present "Venus," which specifically explores the perceived value of a black woman's body in a white world. In this historical drama, penned by Suzan-Lori Parks, the "Hottentot Venus" (Saartjie Baartman, a real-life young woman taken from her South Africa home in 1810), is whisked away to England under false pretenses and sold to a freak show. After making her employers rich, her attempts to make it on her own are complicated by love and economics when she becomes the mistress of a white doctor.
"Venus" will be performed in Todd Theater (Todd Union Building, University of Rochester River Campus) on Thursday, December 4, through Sunday, December 7, and Wednesday, December 10, through Saturday, December 13. All shows begin at 8 p.m. except for a matinée performance on Sunday, December 7, at 3 p.m. and a performance on Saturday, December 13, at 6 p.m. Tickets are $8 for UR students; $12 for seniors and UR alumni, faculty, and staff; and $15 for the general public. Tickets can be purchased online at rochester.edu/theatre, by calling 275-4088, or at the box office up to an hour before each performance. For more information, visit rochester.edu/college/eng/theatre.