A show in which mostly white actors dressed up as cotton pickers and field workers to sing African American slave songs has been canceled. The U.K. publication The Guardian reports that the show, “Slav,” was being performed at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, known as the world’s largest jazz festival.
“Directed by Robert Lepage, with just two actors of color involved, the show premiered last week at the 10-day festival and lasted two performances before backlash and protests shuttered the production, billed as ‘a theatrical odyssey based on slave songs,'” the story reports. “It starred Betty Bonifassi, a white, French-born vocalist whose debut album ‘Chill’em All’ was based on work songs sung by chain gangs in the American South.”
The show was scheduled for 16 performances and reportedly had sold 8,000 tickets.
The festival released a statement saying: “For the Festival international de Jazz de Montreal, inclusion and reconciliation between communities is essential.” The statement added that the festival “has been shaken and strongly affected by all comments received.”