• Lance-Selae August

'My name is Jane' breaks boundaries

An advantage of the Vulture Photography Project is that we very frequently are exposed to theatre, raw, captivating works in all forms, by all kinds of artists. One such opportunity presented itself when we went to see My Name is Jane, a fresh, and deep work, written and directed by Dian Harcovecchio. The production enjoyed a brief showcase at the Theatre Arts Admin Collective in Observatory.

My Name is Jane is a gripping drama, which follows the life of protagonist, Jane, and the sexual abuse that she has had to endure from her stepfather. The captivating story unfolds like an emotional roller-coaster, and deals with how LGBTQI youth survive tremendous and sad incidences in society. The production also deals with the unfortunate choices one has to make in order to survive abuse, and other extraordinary circumstances.

The production stars Kayla Pienaar, who successfully conveys very vivid representations of emotion. The script is real, and contains very graphic depictions of the situations contained in the plot (we won’t give away too much information). Accompanying this is a soulful, suitable and acoustic sound design, and a simplistic set design.

I took a brief moment to chat with Dian about his directorial process:

How did the idea and storyline for My Name is Jane unfold?

It’s based on a true story. A very close friend was raped by her step father because she was gay. Corrective rape is a sad reality and the gay community very often falls victim to this. I wanted to push boundaries and tell this story.

Could you describe the creative process that you followed?

The initial story had quite a few different endings, and the script development process was tough. There was never a moment where I didn’t know what I was writing. I was fortunate enough to have the best ending reveal itself. I drew on references in modern day news and media. Despite the hard work, the process was also fun. The story may be dark and deep, but Jane’s story is one that needed to be told.

What were some of the greatest challenges that you faced during the pre-production process?

We faced so many challenges. Directing was a massive job, and Monica (co-producer) and I had to make some really tough decisions. The critiques and opinions that we received from audiences after the showcase, made all the challenges worth it.

What would audiences take away from seeing My Name is Jane?

I’m trying to give a voice to rape and abused victims. I’m also trying to bring to life a taboo subject, i.e. corrective rape. Day to day, many of us experience victimisation and we should be living in a more accepting society. I’m hoping to give power to queer bodies who are too afraid to embrace their identity. We are pushing boundaries. The purpose of the production is to convey to audiences graphically what raped, abused and queer people experiences.

Although the production has finished its showcase, we hope that more audiences will get the opportunity to see this powerful work. My Name is Jane is a first for Downstage Productions, a company made up by Dian and Monica Louw, who have the purpose of making a difference in the industry. They have further marketed themselves as a company who evolves as industry changes and growth takes place. These individuals have explored the creative side of theatre for the first time, as they are traditionally stage managers. They prove that nothing bad has ever come from being innovative and imaginative.

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