Black Box Theatre — Black Girl: As Is

“A black box theater is a simple performance space, that varies in size, and is usually a square room with black walls and a flat floor. The simplicity of the space is used to create a flexible stage and audience interaction.”

— The biggest advantage of a black box theater is that it can be transformed into anything that the director imagines. A black box theater is capable of endless new and creative configurations.

Today is #blackouttuesday. I would tell you the origin and intention behind it, but I’d rather you get into the habit of using your good friend, Google. What has struck me most while scrolling through a platform of empty black boxes, is how empty I feel in my beautiful, Black body and how it’s become a Black box.

That emptiness is compounded by the insertion of non-Black bodies comfortability in telling me what I should do with this emptiness. That emptiness is compounded by those asking for my light to show them the way. The irony. Even on a day that is specifically sat aside for accountability and reflection, even in a week that is specifically sat aside for amplifying Black voices, I am facing reprimand and requests for free labor.

That emptiness is compounded by the theatricality of so many loud and proud voices fight it out in comments sections. I can’t help but wonder why the desire to be right always trumps the desire to listen and learn.

I think about how Black boxes are built for intimacy and how they require audience participation, in the form of active listening. What have you heard? The true beauty of the Black box, is its flexibility and its ability for transform itself into new configurations. What have you become? Are you performing or are you listening?

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