Your Sunday afternoon zen: Zindzi Okenyo and “Just a Story”

Zindzi Okenyo is an explosion of creativity. Just this year, you might have seen her (among other things!) on stage in Griffin Theatre’s Masquerade, Darlinghurst Theatre Co’s Gaybies, or Sydney Theatre Company’s Boys Will be Boys. You might have caught her on TV, on Play School. Or you might have heard the mystic neo-soul music she produces and performs as Okenyo.

Starting this weekend, you’ll also be able to see her in La Traviata, the new show to hit downstairs at Belvoir St Theatre. Billed as “part opera, part protest, part drag show,” the piece has been created by Melbourne DIY/queer outfit Sisters Grimm (Ash Flanders and Declan Greene, who created the Helpmann-nominated Calpurnia Descending) and the cast.

Zindzi Okenyo in rehearsal for La Traviata at Belvoir St. Photo by Emma Furno.
Zindzi Okenyo in rehearsal for La Traviata at Belvoir St. Photo by Emma Furno.

This won’t be lavish La Traviata you might have caught at the Opera House earlier this year or kicking off the Opera on the Harbour series. This one is ” a freewheeling satire that shadows Verdi’s plot via the sweatshops of Mumbai and the wastepaper basket of the Federal Minister for the Arts… By staging an epic Romantic opera in the smallest theatre in Sydney, Sisters Grimm are plunging into the ever-expanding gap between wealth and poverty.”

This Sunday, what could be better than Okenyo’s stirring, striking sound? Very little. Zindzi’s music and her performances are always electric, always exciting, and always wonderful. Here’s an Okenyo original, “Just a Story,” to brighten up your afternoon.

Happy Sunday.

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Cassie is a theatre critic and arts writer in Sydney, and is the deputy editor of AussieTheatre. She has written for The Guardian, Time Out Sydney, Daily Review, and BroadwayWorld Australia. She is a voter for the Sydney Theatre Awards.

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Follow Cassie: @cassietongue