If a black actor is not even allowed to play Othello, what kind of role should they hope for? Is it possible to untangle from our cultural background and its expectations? Can a performer on stage be seen as anything other than human? At the interface between stand-up comedy, performance, video art, dance and concert, Ntando Cele investigates identity and authenticity in the life stories of yesterday and today. Josephine Baker, Nina Simone and Cardi B have conquered Europe, but at what price? Black women enter the stage only as projections of white men’s fantasies. GO GO OTHELLO looks at the Western perception of black bodies, questioning why Othello is the only non-white hero of classical theatre and why he is often played by white actors wearing blackface. Accompanied by musician and composer Simon Ho’s keyboard, the performer questions the persistence of racial stereotypes in the art world and explores the black female body through the lens of exotism, desire and exploitation. She turns into an actor, an opera singer, a burlesque dancer, a comedian, a rapper, a go-go girl and a flamenco dancer. But how does she want to be seen? Cele takes on a relentless search for a positive self-image that is no longer the object of other people’s ideas but an active subject attempting to control the narrative, opening up a new way forward.
Ntando Cele was born in Durban (South Africa) in 1980 and lives in Bern, Switzerland. She studied acting in Durban and has received a master’s degree from DasArts in Amsterdam. Cele has been working with Manaka Empowerment Production since 2014, overturning the borders between physical theatre, video installation, concert and performance. She addresses the racism hidden in everyday life with politically incorrect statements and jokes. Gleefully dissecting prejudice and stereotypes, she challenges the audience to face their perceptions.
Teatro PetrellaAccessibility: accessible for wheelchair users and people with limited mobility.
piazza S. Girolamo, 3 (Longiano)
Duration: 75 minutes.
Language: English with Italian subtitles.
Performance Ntando Cele / ideazione e co-direzione Ntando Cele, Raphael Urweider / testo Raphael Urweider / composizione e musiche Simon Ho / loops&beats Michael Sauter / tour manager tecnico Pit Hertig / luci Maria Liechti / suoni Valerio Rodelli / assistente alla regia e sottotitoli Sandro Griesser / costumista Allen Owemigisha / coreografia Chera Mack / ideazione abiti Rudolf Jost / foto Janosch Abel / responsabile produzione e tour manager Boss & Röhrenbach / traduzione italiana a cura di Ilaria Patano.
Spettacolo sostenuto da Fondazione svizzera per la cultura Pro Helvetia.
© Janosch Abel