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GUEST,DrWord Minstrel Shows - ever seen one? (26) RE: Minstrel Shows - ever seen one? 04 Dec 20


The San Francisco Mime Troupe, in ‘68 or 9, hit the road with a show “Civil Rights in a Cracker Barrel”. I saw their Winnipeg performance at the Pantages (“Playhouse”) Theatre. It was, as you can imagine, highly political, and touched on much more than ‘civil rights’. The war, persecution of gays, &c.

    It was full-on blackface, with the white Interlocutor in tails. In memory three things remain vivid. One was just the humour: the minstrels, seated, with their backs to the audience, singing ‘Old black Joe’ and vigorously pantomiming [you can guess what] whilst singing, “i’m coming, I’m coming ...” Funny. On a WAY more serious note, they screened a short film while singing a constant near-drone quality repetition of the word “watermelon”. The film was a montage of watermelons being: smashed, beaten, shot, squashed, &c., &c.—you get the picture. Not funny. The third vivid memory is of the curtain call. The six minstrels removed their white gloves. Three white hands. Three black hands.

Now I’m thinking ‘Civil rights ....’ was an alternate title, prefixed with ‘or’ but I no longer have the poster.

Thanks to StevenC for reviving the thread. Of course in Canada we also saw images of our prime minister in black greasepaint too.
keep your distance, but keep on pickin’ Be well, Mudcatters. ??dennis


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