Minister, answer the question
COULD the minister of higher education provide a model answer to this week’s matric dramatic arts theory paper question 11? Four marks are available to the learner who can describe how s/he would ask the actor (using a broomstick and a loaf of bread), to portray the horror of a baby being raped. This is a tough choice for the average matriculant – does one get four marks for schlock-horror style stage directions, or go minimalist?
Will the learner get a mark for describing how they would get the actor to use pumpernickel bread as opposed to white; choose a broken or intact broomstick; salivate on the loaf of bread; masturbate on it; poke the broomstick into the bread; bite off chunks and express how healthy the loaf of bread is; offer the loaf around to the audience, or ask if they’ve ever tried this; chop up the bread after poking it and throw it to the audience?
Any four of the above? Any other depraved, grotesque and sadistic visualisation of raping a baby that the mind of a matric learner can concoct, like a scene from Apocalypse Now?
What expression of theoretical knowledge or directing ability could possibly be tested and set out in an examiners’ rubric to earn full marks for such a question? Yes, the question was contextualised in Lara Foot Newton’s play Tshepang, but what of the matric learner who has herself been raped, facing such a question? Yes, they may have studied the play in class, but wouldn’t she just want to burst into tears in the middle of the exam, having to write out stage directions? Is this just stupidity, insensitivity, or both? Has the education department become so de- sensitised by violence that it needed to trawl the evil thoughts of its staff for something to titillate the exam markers and keep them from nodding off ?
Minister, for four marks, your thoughts on the conditioning of children and the objectification of baby rape.