Thirteen Ways Of Looking At Blackface

by Anne Richardson


I was in Lincoln Hall on Dec. 8, 2012 for the last night of White Bird’s West Coast Premiere of Camille A. Brown’s masterful Mr. TOL E. RAncE, a complex work which explores the artist’s complicated response to nineteenth century minstrelsy.

I’ll be writing more about Mr. TOL E. RAncE, and about what happened when Camille A. Brown generously opened up the floor to the audience for a post-performance discussion. For now, I’ve posted Thirteen Ways Of Looking at Blackface, in which I protest the taboo which shuts down discussion of America’s long love affair with cross racial impersonation.

Like all great explorers, Camille A. Brown ignored the taboo. Like all great works of art, Mr. TOL E RanCE cannot be reduced to a simple description of what it is “about”.

Thirteen Ways was written in 2005. Find it here.