‘If you’re thinking about being my baby, it don’t matter if you’re black or white’ sings the King of Pop in the hit which has sold over 5 million copies.
Black or White is an audio-visual symbiosis between white rock guitar riffs and black gangster rap. For the 1991 release, the record company even described the song as a ‘rock n’ roll dance song about racial harmony’. Pop music thus provides us with the supposed potential to overcome structurally anchored power structures, to temporarily become someone else, to discard the identities ascribed to us and to escape the logic of representation.
By hijacking the format of Mareijke Amado’s Mini Playback Sow, PLAYBLACK attempts to counter this call for liberal colorblindness with childlike defiance.
The white (German) desire for black embodiment is exposed as we get lost deep in the ejections, memories and projections of Afro-American and German cultural productions. PLAYBLACK says goodbye to universalism (white abstraction) and invites us to pause in the specificity of Black German experience.
The copy becomes a tender gesture of homage, the imitation, trained to perfection, an expression of solidarity with figures of German entertainment history read as precarious, and the means of caricature provocatively subverted to question the careful construction of white neutrality and universal validity.
It’s Showtime Baby, Off into the magic ball.
See, it’s not about races
Where your blood comes from
Is where your space is
I’ve seen the bright get duller
I’m not gonna spend my life being a color
Michael Jackson ‘Black or White’
With the voices of Mareijke Amado, Roberto Blanco, Bill Bottrell, Barbara Bleisch, Mariah Carey, Rachel Dolezal, Jamie Fox, Gentleman, Herbert Grönemeyer, Gzuz, Thomas Gottschalk, arrest warrant, Nina Hagen, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, David Letterman, Loni Love, Loona, Boney M, Fabrice Morvan, Prince, Das Racist, host SoTalk, Chris Rock, DJ Vlad and Oprah Winfrey.
Annedori Antrie is currently the only Person of Color in her class, in her second year she is studying acting at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt.
As an actress, she stands for student and free projects on stage and in front of the camera and she hopes that she will be offered interesting and complex roles as a black actress after her graduation and that she will be spared stereotypical characters that are only marked by their black. As a participant of the Mini Playback Show she would perform Sade’s Hit Smooth Operator.
Thanks to her childhood in a household far away from pop, Clara Reiner only got to enjoy the Mini Playback Show through her work on PLAYBLACK. In the meantime she has developed a feeling for the pitfalls of show business and a catchy tune. When she is not touring with PLAYBLACK, she studies choreography and performance at the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies in Gießen. She makes plays and things, works mostly with others and is interested in non-human actors*.
Joana Tischkau dances. One of her first memories is the moment when she danced to Kaomas Hit Lambada, from 1989, at a children’s birthday party. This experience moved her to register at the dance school next door for jazz dance, street dance and video clip dancing.
She later studied dance and acting at Coventry University in the UK and choreography and performance at the Institute of Applied Theatre Studies. Her artistic practice is a hybrid jumble that brings together the writings of bel hooks and beatboxing, creating a fitness workout with white movement material and paying homage to Roberto Blanco as the King of Black German entertainment. PLAYBLACK is her master’s final production
Jan Gehmlich studied applied theatre sciences in Gießen. He writes songs, produces radio plays, podcasts and sound collages and stage works often in collaboration. His work is accompanied by the intention to put himself as a white C sharp man in the service of feminist and anti-racist art production in which women and POCs can appear as authors.
Since making art is only half the battle, he drives around Frankfurt Airport in a golf caddy and takes passengers to their gate. He is looking for jobs in sound, performance and emotional care.
Elisabeth Hampe studied Theatre Studies at the Free University of Berlin and Applied Theatre Studies in Gießen. She writes concepts, works as a performer, dramaturge and, on the side, in a Berlin record store. She is interested in the mechanisms of representation of black music and cultural productions, for example, she has critically examined the much-discussed means of blackfacing on German stages.
Ina Trenk studies stage and costume design at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Offenbach and got to know Joana Tischkau and Jan Gehmlich through their joint work on the HTA project ‘The Origin of the World’ initiated by Anne Kapsner. Although they were immediately inspired by Boney M’s stage outfits, the band did not know her before.
Her favourite song is Green Grass Of Tunnel by Múm.
Dennis Dieter Kopp, *1986, Malsch, studied theatre, media and literature at the University of Hildesheim.
Since 2012, he* has been working as a freelance lighting technician*, performer* and dramaturg* at the Münchner Kammerspiele and for the directors*, choreographers* and independent theatre and performance collectives Oliver Zahn//HAUPTAKTION, Thermoboy FK, christians//schwenk, Henrike Iglesias, Markus&Markus, Marie Simons and Ceren Oran and Joana Tischkau – mainly between Munich and Berlin.
He* is also a solo performer* and a member of cobragianni.cobra, responsible for Let Me Be the Object of Your Desire (Hildesheim 2012) and A BITTLEFUL MORE MUST SEE or: How I turned into a butterfly (Flensburg 2017). His* artistic practice is primarily concerned with questions of critical masculinity research in search of queer, feminist and intersectional perspectives.
Duration: 55 minutes
Concept & Choreography: Clara Reiner, Joana Tischkau
Sound direction: Jan Gehmlich
Performance: Annedore Antrie, Clara Reiner, Joana Tischkau
Choir: N.N., N.N., N.N.
Dramaturgy: Elisabeth Hampe
Costume: Ina Trenk
Graphic design/stage: Justus Gelberg
A production by Joana Tischkau in cooperation with Künstlerhaus Mousonturm and the Choreography and Performance course of study at the Hessian Theatre Academy, supported by the Cultural Office of the City of Frankfurt.
Special thanks to Bojana Kunst, Vanessa Thompson, Heiner Goebbels, Elisa Liepsch, Aran Kleebauer, Daniel Shaw, Lisa Gehring