Source: John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me
Adaptation by Clémentine Célarié
Artistic Collaboration: Abraham Diallo
In French with projected English subtitles.
In her one-woman show, actress Clementine Célarié adapts American journalist John Howard Griffin‘s 1961 book, Black Like Me, into a live performance that promotes tolerance and humanism. With graceful simplicity and minimal props, the actress transforms into dozens of characters. Griffin, a white journalist who sought to understand the condition of being black in America, was made up to look like an African American before setting out to experience life for six weeks in the racially segregated South. His journals from those travels are the basis for the book. At the time of its writing, race relations were particularly strained in the United States. Célarié’s adaptation of Black Like Me raises the question: Have things really changed all that much since that volatile time? Célarié was born and raised in Dakar in sub-Saharan Africa. Living there for twelve years, she says she feels African – more black than white. ”I’ve always wondered about the impact of skin color in the relations between human beings,” says Célarié. “This show depicts the adventure of the man I incarnate, white and black… with courage and humanity. His testimony is a universal cry of alarm and, at the same time, a call to respect the other and their differences.”
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