Black Clown, conceptualised by Khutjo Green and performed by herself and Thenjiwe Soxokoshe, is an 11-minute epic that challenges our ways of seeing.
Fog horns sound out as the lights go up to reveal a shrouded figure, centre stage – a way of indicating, before we’ve even begun to take in the work, that this figure has been transported here from someplace else. It’s a powerful and uncomfortable opening scene, reminiscent of Saartjie Baartman’s own tragic tale.
Soxokoshe plays the part of the ringmaster or the handler, kitted out in a measuring-tape bow-tie as she adjusts The Clown’s posture and shows her off to the audience, always with long, flourishing movements and a cold, fixed smile.
The politics of the body, of gender, race, and more are all embodied in Black Clown.
Sometimes, they are placed upfront – the balloon constantly inflating in front of The Clown’s face, keeping her from speaking – and other times they are displayed through the uncertain movements of her limbs, the flash of white in her exaggerated eyes, or the multiple lurking shadows that seem to emerge from a sing figure under a spotlight and an ever-present gaze.
CONCEPTUALISED AND PERFORMED BY | Khutjo Green
DIRECTED BY | Phala O. Phala
ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE BY | Thenjiwe Soxokoshe
WRITER | Dave Mann
VIDEO ENGINEER & EDITOR | Noah Cohen
STILLS PHOTOGRAPHER | Nina Lieska