Reviews Q & A with a mime: inside a box

Q & A with a mime: inside a box

This is the most unconventional interview imaginable. It takes place at the Village Green, where a crowd has gathered around a large Perspex box. The interviewee, performance artist Richard Antrobus, is the iconic whiteface mime inside the box, and the public are posting questions on pieces of white paper. I am among the young children and adults asking questions and making suggestions to the man with the striped shirt and black beret.

What is your name?
Norm.

Are you hungry?
The country? No, I’m a small part of South Africa.

Answer this question properly.How old are you?
Dirty tree.

How did you get into the box?
Years of questioning performance and identity. I was born into this box and I’m trying to figure a way
out.

Richard Antrobus performs in Suggestion Box #justsaying. Photos: CuePix/Amanda Horsfield.

Richard Antrobus performs in Suggestion Box #justsaying. Photos: CuePix/Amanda Horsfield.

Why are you in a box?
I think we are all in a box. We just haven’t realised it’s real yet…
white privilege?

Are you faking this?
Am I? Does the box look fake? Or am I being trapped?

What do you see from inside your see-through box?
(He pulls out his smartphone and snaps a few selfies, which he holds up against the Perspex screen)
More layers. (He peels a plastic sheet from the Perspex screen) Different layers of transparency.

Can you wash your white face?
You mean like Rachel Dolezal? I think there is a difference between white guilt and white privilege.
I don’t think we should feel guilty but we have to check and acknowledge our privilege. As a white performer, do I have a voice?

What would it sound like?
Like this! (On another piece of paper, he scribbles) I don’t have a voice, but I can facilitate
conversations.

What is white guilt?
Don’t confuse white guilt with white privilege. White guilt is something our parents have. White privilege is something we have, and our children will have.

Is your shirt black with white stripes or white with black stripes?
The white stripes dominate in size, even though the black stripes are more obvious – which is kind of
the opposite of what this is saying I guess.

Do you have any suggestions for us?
I’m the one with no voice in the box. Suggestions are supposed to come from the public? But, I would say read Professor Sam Vice’s article … interesting read… Which this is a response to.

What happens when you get out of the box?
I go have a drink. Or, I’m in a coffin. But hopefully I’ll get out sooner than that.

Kick the box.
No kicking out of the box today. Go kick your bad habits. Thank you for engaging.

Wait, before you go silent, what are you going to do with the suggestions that you’re lying among?
I want to maybe co-author a follow up paper with Vice perhaps. To be or not to be? … or HB …that is the pencil.

Sarah Rose de Villiers
Cue student reporter.

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