Cabaret Noir is both a giant celebration centred around the idea of négritude and a space, so to speak, for resisting being essentialized and pigeonholed by the limitations of this concept, this blackness, this gloominess.

Since it’s impossible to escape our bodies, why not pay tribute to this condition, this identity, this burden, this beauty? After taking a look at the playground in front of us, a combination of cotton field and circus ring, stranded between essay and cabaret, we’re diving in eyes shut, fists raised.

Equal parts High Mass, happening, and plea for recognition, Cabaret Noir is a nod to both the flippant attitude of Cabaret Neiges Noires and the carefree atmosphere that marked the bals nègres of Paris during the 1930s.

We play around with clichés, folklore, and prejudices. We summon up the words of Frantz Fanon, Nina Simone, Dany Laferrière, and Spike Lee. We let the discourse develop and contradict itself. We observe how a bodily shell has the power to both sharpen instincts and dictate destinies.  

In an age where one can lay claim simultaneously to both George Floyd and Barack Obama, Cabaret Noir is a space both sacred and profane, a space for demanding the right to tell one’s own story, in one’s own words, the right to fashion one’s own identity and, in the final reckoning, the right to not let oneself be defined by any authority whatsoever.”

Mélanie Demers


Direction and choreography: Mélanie Demers
Performers: Vlad Alexis, Florence  Blain Mbaye, Paul Chambers, Mélanie Demers,Stacey Désilier, Anglesh Major
Lights: Paul Chambers
Premiere: 2020
In coproduction with: Théâtre du Prospero and Agora de la danse
Mayday would like to thank the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Conseil des arts de Montréal for their financial support.