CLORA: not a garden variety drag-show

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Ashraf Johaardien in CLORA

Jade Bowers Design proudly presents CLORA featuring Ashraf Johaardien and introducing Daniel Geddes at PopArt and the Grahamstown Festival.

Meet Ms. Rachel Tension (played by Ashraf Johaardien): a coloured drag queen from the Cape Flats, Rachel is chaos illuminated by flashes of sequins. At a club somewhere in Johannesburg, she meets a piano-playing barman (played by Daniel Geddes) with a secret of his own. Together they embark on a madcap musical journey through love punctuated by parodies of popular gay anthems, parodies of parodies and other songs.

CLORA is a comedy/cabaret which combines the high theatre of antiquity with the low-brow entertainment of the common people in a creative collaboration which channels the ancient totem of the drag queen for a performance that combines storytelling, poetry and music into a theatrical remix with little more than a piano, a purple wig and a handful of show tunes. Simultaneously personal and at times disturbingly peculiar, the production explores the notion that gender itself is an imitation that has no natural or original basis.

“This is not your garden variety drag-show,” says Bowers. According to Bowers, “Gender is a construct. Gender is performed. Gender is an act. Gender is an erotic playground. In CLORA we wanted ask a really big question: does drag performance in fact reinforce hetero-normativity by performing hyper-femininity from a masculine perspective or is there the potential for drag to be a celebration, affirmation and activation of difference, dissidence and defiance?” Bowers, who once again designs and directs, explains that the show is the result of exploring that complex question in way that entertains, engages and provokes an audience.

Johaardien and Bowers first creative project was on the tenth anniversary production of the award-winning play “Salaam”. More recently they collaborated on the critically acclaimed one-man iHAMLET in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

CLORA runs at PopArt, Main Street Life Building, Fox Street, Johannesburg from 21 June to 24 June. For bookings e-mail or visit for more info. The production will also tour to the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown where it will play at the Albany Cabaret Club as follows: 28 June 21:00, 29 June 17:00, 30 June 11:00, 01 July 13:00 and 02 July 19:00. Book online at Computicket

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