Impulse Theater Festival

Cologne, Düsseldorf, Mülheim an der Ruhr

4–14 June 2020

PLAYBLACK

It’s Showtime, Baby! In PLAYBLACK songs and interviews by icons of pop history are copied and appropriated. A fast-paced collage about the role of Black stars in the white-dominated entertainment industry.

Language: English and German
Tanzfaktur, Saal

Special on 05.06. after the performance:
Talk with the artists in German. Chaired by: Katja Grawinkel-Claassen, dramaturg, FFT Düsseldorf

© Daniel Michael Shaw
© Daniel Michael Shaw
© Daniel Michael Shaw
© Daniel Michael Shaw

“If you’re thinking about being my Baby, it don’t matter if you’re black or white” the King of Pop professes in ‘Black or White’ is an audio-visual symbiosis of white rock guitar riffs and Black gangsta rap. On its release in 1991 Epic records described the song as a “rock ’n’ roll dance song about racial harmony”.

It seems as if Pop Culture repeatedly claims that it is capable of overcoming racist power structures. This colour-blindness is addressed with a childish naivety and PLAYBLACK proves that exactly the opposite is true. Hijacking the format of the German TV program Mini Playblack Show, Joana Tischkau uses it to show that the lived experience of whiteness is not universal. In an ever-evolving battle with costumes, wigs and dance-moves, the performers are imitating a range of interviews and performances by different pop-historical icons: the choreography, gestures, facial expressions and playback – perfect copies.

PLAYBLACK exposes the ambivalent potential of the copy: In what way can they become an expression of solidarity, but also drift into being caricatures? The white German desire for Black embodiment is exposed when we lose ourselves in the the recesses, memories and projections of African American and Afro-German cultural productions. It’s Showtime Baby!

Credits

Concept and Choreography: Clara Reiner, Joana Tischkau
Audio Direction : Jan Gehmlich
Dramaturgy: Elisabeth Hampe
Performance: Annedore Antrie, Clara Reiner, Joana Tischkau plus a local choir
Costumes: Ina Trenk
Print: Nadine Bakota
Lighting: Dennis Dieter Kopp
Graphic and Stage Design: Justus Gelberg
Production Management: Lisa Gehring
Contact for touring enquiries: Lisa Gehring, mail[a]lisagehring.de

Produktion

A production by Joana Tischkau in co-operation with Künstlerhaus Mousonturm and students of the Choreography and Performance course at the Hessian Theatre Academy, funded by the City of Frankfurt Culture Department.

Biographies

Annedore Adei Antrie is currently the only Person of Colour in the Third Year studying Acting at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt. As a human being who acts she appears on stage and in front of a camera in student and independent productions and hopes that after she has graduated she will be able as a Black performer to work on interesting and complex roles and that she will be spared stereotypical characters marked only by their Blackness. As a participant in the ‘Mini Playback Show’ she would perform Judi Jackson’s hit ‘Still’.

Jan Gehmlich studied Applied Theatre Studies in Gießen. He writes songs and produces audio dramas, podcasts, sound collages and stage works – often in collaboration with others. His work is guided by the principle of putting himself as a white cis male at the disposal of feminist and anti-racist art productions in which women and POCs can be perceived as authors. Because art is only half a living, he also drives a golf cart around Frankfurt airport bringing passengers to their gates. He is seeking work in the fields of sound, performance and emotional care.

Elisabeth Hampe studied Theatre Studies at the Free University Berlin and Applied Theatre Studies in Gießen. She writes concepts, works as a performer and dramaturg and also works in a Berlin record shop. She has a particular interest in the mechanics of representation in Black music and cultural production and has engaged critically with the much-discussed medium of blackfacing on German stages.

Dennis Dieter Kopp studied Theatre, Media and Literature at the University of Hildesheim. Since 2012 he has worked as a lighting technician, performer and dramaturg at venues including the Münchner Kammerspiele and for Oliver Zahn//HAUPTAKTION, Thermoboy FK, christians//schwenk, Henrike Iglesias, Markus&Markus, Marie Simons and Ceren Oran and Joana Tischkau. As a solo performer and member of cobragianni.cobra he has been responsible for ‘Let Me Be the Object of Your Desire’ (2012) and ‘EIN BISSCHEN MEHR MUSS MAN SCHON SEHEN oder: Wie ich mich in einen Schmetterling verwandelte’ (2017). His artistic practice is concerned mainly with issues of critical research into masculinity in searching for queer, feminist and intersectional perspectives. Having grown up in a home with very little pop music,

Clara Reiner only discovered the pleasures of the ‘Mini Playback Show’ through working on PLAYBACK. She now has a nose for the pitfalls of show business and has cultivated an ear worm. When she’s not touring with PLAYBLACK, she studies Choreography and Performance at the Institute of Applied Theatre Studies in Gießen. She makes both plays and things, usually works with others and is interested in non-human actors.

Joana Tischkau dances. One of her first memories is of dancing to Kaoma’s 1989 hit ‘Lambada’ at a children’s birthday party. This motivated her to register for lessons in jazz dance, street dance and videoclip dancing at the dance school next door. She subsequently studied Dance and Acting at Coventry University in Great Britain and Choreography and Performance at the Institute of Applied Theatre Studies in Gießen. Her artistic practice is a hybrid mess where the writings of bel hooks meet beatboxing, where a fitness workout can be produced based on white movement material and Roberto Blanco is worshipped as the king of Black German entertainment. PLAYBLACK is the graduation production for her Master’s degree.

Ina Trenk studies Stage and Costume Design at Offenbach University of Art and Design and came to know Joana Tischkau and Jan Gehmlich by their work together on the project ‘Der Urpsrung der Welt’ initiated by Anne Kapsner at the Hessian Theatre Academy. Although she was immediately inspired by Boney M’s stage outfits, she did not previously know the band. Her favourite song is ‘Green Grass of Tunnel’ by Múm.