why do moths fly like crazy f*@#ks in the night?

When and where: August 3 – 26, 2023,  in the Baxter’s Masambe Theatre at 7.30pm, with matinees on Saturdays at 3pm Writer/performer: Sue Pam-Grant
Director: Fred Abrahamse
Tickets: R150 – R220
Bookings: Webtickets https://www.webtickets.co.za/v2/event.aspx?itemid=1529988221
Producer: Abrahamse & Meyer Productions

Rousing theatre news is the world premiere of the one-woman play, why do moths fly like crazy f*@#ks in the night? by South Africa’s Sue Pam-Grant which opens tonight, August 3, 2023, in the Baxter’s Masambe Theatre.  Sue Pam-Grant is a writer, actress and visual artist and in MOTHS, she stitches together the multiple strands of her creative process. She has written the play and performs in it and has created art works which form part of the set- an art studio. During the course of the play (running time about 75 minutes), she creates work, on stage, in the studio, destroys and recreates.  The play is a portrait of The Artist – a woman artist- who is in her studio on the last night of her life. She looks back on her life, the people in her life, her art, the process of creating her work; her battles as a female artist in a participial society; grappling with the threads of her body of work and her own body as an object.  In conceiving the play, Pam-Grant was inspired by the art and life of Louise Bourgeois, the seminal French born artist who took on American citizenship (died in 2010) and her struggles – working in a male dominated sector, being a mother and wife and dealing with her family trauma and own demons.

MOTHS is being produced by Abrahamse & Meyer Productions [A&M Productions – Fred Abrahamse and Marcel Meyer]. Abrahamse is directing. Meyer notes that they are calling the play, an “exploration”. It is not a biography of Louise Bourgeois. It goes beyond “homage” in that Pam-Grant cantilevers her own experiences as woman artist and her own struggles (emotional, personal, health) in MOTHS. It is not a biography of Sue-Pam Grant.

As a playwright, Pam-Grant is famous for her iconic play Curl Up & Dye which received acclaim internationally and was revived in December 2022 in Cape Town and which received a Fleur du Cap Theatre nomination for best supporting actress in a play (Lauren Snyders). Fred Abrahamse won a FDC as best director for Contested Bodies. A&M Productions was nominated for 16 FDC awards (2022 productions) and won five awards. A&M has received acclaim internationally and shifts seamlessly, weaving genres and approaches in theatre and performance art. This collaboration, between A&M and Sue Pam-Grant is thrilling news. Meyer: “MOTHS is inspired by a  famous 20th century artist and here we have a South African performing and visual artist who has written a piece and is performing it and looks at the role of women in art and how women have been ostracised- certainly in previous eras. All these issues are unpacked in the play. Not only is it a play that which references art but it is about how we relate to our past and how it can hold us back or move us forward. Even if you are not a painter, actor, writer, you can engage with the creative process on a human level – our relationships with parents, past, with partners, our lovers and how we navigate life – a wonderful universal message. It is about the process of making art and why we want to express ourselves. It is a beautiful play.”


Many people have been asking me if MOTHS is a play or a performance. This is a preview – I have not seen it- and as outlined above – it is a play meshed with performance art- art being created as performance in a “studio” in the theatre- with an audience in attendance; watching how the narrative unfolds.  I have been asked: “What is with the moths”. Here is a plot spoiler. In 1995, when she was in her 80s, Bourgeois mused: “The beautiful clothes from your youth – so what – sacrifice / them, eaten by the moths.” There is a lot in that phrasing – aging, memory, life and decay, yearning for one’s youth; embracing memories by tangibly engaging with textiles. I am including the release from A&M, for more about the production and which includes information about Bourgeois:

New Sue Pam-Grant play to premiere at the Baxter this August.

In celebration of Women’s Month, Abrahamse and Meyer Productions presents the world premiere of award-winning South African writer, actress and visual artist, Sue Pam-Grant’s latest one-woman play, why do moths fly like crazy f*@#ks in the night?

This visceral contemporary portrait for the stage is inspired by the life and work of Louise Bourgeois, one of the most prolific and fascinating visual artists of the 20th century, and profoundly explores the creative process and spirit.

This tour-de-force stars Pam-Grant in the complex and multi-faceted role of ‘The Artist’ under Fred Abrahamse’s astute direction.

Pam-Grant explains: “This (re)imagined Portrait, in the form of a ‘spoken drawing’ is a homage to the French vanguard artist, Louise Bourgeois (1911 – 2010), most often associated with her famous steel and marble spider sculpture, Maman (1999),(one of the largest sculptures in the world measuring over 30ft high and over 33 ft wide). Bourgeois, at the age of seventy, exploded, eclipsed, and changed the landscape of the male dominated contemporary art world with her brave, tenacious, raw, provocative, fuel-injected subjecthood and psychanalytic commentary on the ‘imperfect experience’ of the human condition.

Her work and life story have not only influenced my thinking, and my interdisciplinary art making practice, but have played a deeply profound and integral role in the shaping and forming of my artistic agency, provocations, and conversations as a woman artist with a desire to be ever present and ‘alive’ in this world today.”

Studio performance

The Baxter’s Masambe Theatrewill be transformed into a poetic, liminal space, blurring the boundaries between gallery, theatre, and artist’s studio as the audience voyeuristically observe The Artist wrestling with her work, life, and personal demons.

In a densely packed 75 minutes, why do moths fly like crazy f*@#ks in the night? will take the audience on a profound odyssey into the secret soul of an artist, shedding light on her greatest joys, fears, and deepest desires.

About Sue Pam-Grant

Sue Pam-Grant’s professional career spans over the past 38 years with an archive of works existing in the form of numerous plays, performances, public installations, assemblages, solo exhibits of visual works, drawings, etchings, paintings, artist’s books, video, film, online publications, and immersive installations. Her works have been highly acclaimed and have had international recognition. Her practice crosses the visual arts, performance, and theatre and film making practices.

About Fred Abrahamse

Earlier this year, multi-award-winning Fred Abrahamse won his third Best director award at the annual Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards, for the highly acclaimed play, Contested Bodies, which just completed a successful return season at the Baxter Theatre.

Featured image of Sue Pam-Grant by Fiona MacPherson.