Blackface becomes whiteface: a stand-up-performance-comedy-rock-show about racism from both a personal and a socio-political perspective.
Blackfacing is a phenomenon that makes stereotypes and prejudices painfully visible, and one that has sadly not yet been unilaterally rejected by society. In Black Off, South African performer Ntando Cele - together with her White Swiss Jazz Band (Composer Simon Ho on keys, Patrick Abt on guitar and Pit Lee Hertig on drums) - orchestrates a role reversal. Bianca White – Ntando Cele’s white alter ego – steps onto the stage in a blonde wig, blue contacts and full whiteface.
White is a Rhodie, a white Zimbabwean globetrotter who gives self-help classes, meditates, does volunteer work with disadvantaged children – she has even adopted several – and dreams of a white world in which everyone can conquer their inner and outer blackness … At least until Vera Black, a black punk, enters the scene. Through politically incorrect jokes and witticisms, the performer exposes the hidden racism that lies at the core of our everyday lives.
Ntando Cele was born in South Africa and studied drama in Durban, worked at DasArts Academy in Amsterdam and is currently living and working in Switzerland. Her work questions the concept of identity, investigates prejudices and dismantles stereotypes. ‘Knowing a society is multicultural doesn’t necessarily mean that there is intercultural understanding.’
Part of NORMAL SCHNORMAL, a multidisciplinary programme on normality and other deviations.
concept, singing, acting, video: Ntando Cele, composition, piano: Simon Ho, guitar / sidekick: Patrick Abt, drums: Pit Hertig, text, co-director, sound: Raphael Urweider, light design: Tonio Finkam, technician: Maria Liechti, production management: Michael Röhrenbach