Orbiter 3’s Newest Play Examines Queer Life in Dakar

A scene from "Knee That Can Bend."

A scene from “A Knee That Can Bend.”

Playwright Emma Goidel spent time as a college student in Dakar, where she wrote a theater piece about closeted queer women. The experience inspired Goidel in more ways than one.

“Writing that play raised more questions in me than it answered—about the right to have an out queer identity, and who wants that right, and who needs that right, and whose life is imperiled by that right. About the ethics of living and partying and falling in love with the people you’re writing about. About who gets to tell African stories to the American academy, and an American public,” she said.

Goidel, who has worked with and received recognition from Ars Nova, the Kilroys, Labyrinth Theater Company, and the Playwrights Realm, will be presenting her newest work, A Knee That Can Bend, which explores these questions of queerness, with Orbiter 3 starting in November.

The play focuses on Kate, an American sociology student studying in Sénégal, who meets a group of underground queers and soon learns about Dakar’s hidden gay nightlife. The production stars Jennifer Kidwell (The Wilma’s Antigone), Danielle Leneé, Candace Moore, and Anna Szapiro.

Orbiter 3 is a collective of Philadelphia theater artists, committed to “creating sustainable and radical theatre.” The group’s first production, Moon Man Walk by James Ijames, opened to rave reviews.

A Knee That Can Bend will run from November 28 through December 20 at Studio X (1340 S. 13th Street). Tickets range from $15-20, and can be ordered by visiting the Orbiter 3 website.