White Woman Wakes in Black Man’s Body in Kafkaesque ‘BBC’ at Redcat, June 20-22

By  | 

Paul Outlaw premieres his provocative “BBC (Big Black Cockroach)” at Downtown LA’s Redcat (in the Disney Concert Hall complex) June 20-22, 2024. The latest show from the avant-garde writer/performer is inspired by Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis,” inverting Kafka’s classic to answer a provocative question: What happens when a right-wing white woman wakes up trapped in the body of a Black man?

“In creating the various iterations of this project, I’ve explored multiple modes of performance–silent film acting, audio drama, naturalism, theater of the absurd, standup comedy and storytelling,” said the LGBT artist.

While “shifting between embodying tropes of Black manhood and white womanhood,” Outlaw continues, the dissociations “are a variation on the loss of speech and identity experienced by Gregor Samsa in ‘The Metamorphosis’ as he succumbs to an existence as a cockroach. The difference in ‘BBC (Big Black Cockroach).’ Black men are not ‘monstrous vermin.’”

“BBC” was also inspired by classical European mythology, superhero fantasies, and the current uncertain social and political state of the U.S.

L.A.-Based Director

“Wading through the layers of exploitative violent imagery, corporate advertisements, and fake news to find some truth underneath is an exhausting task,” said Sara Lyons, LA-based director of “BBC.” “Paul Outlaw’s ‘BBC (Big Black Cockroach)’ offers a new lexicon to articulate racist violence: one made of flesh and bone, thought and feeling, superhero fantasies and the unlimited terrain of imagination.

“In BBC, white violence past and present live in the most real, most vulnerable, most undeniable place of all–inside Paul himself…. In this feat of performance, Kafka’s dark surrealism collides with bright American pop culture and the stark, radical honesty of a single body and voice alone onstage. If we can finally look the past straight in the eyes, maybe the future will finally call out to us in return.”

Veteran of the Stage

Outlaw has been creating critically acclaimed works for more than 25 years. He played the title role in Pepe Danquart’s “Schwarzfahrer,” winner of the 1994 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film.

His award-winning solo projects and collaborations have been presented at LACMA, MOCA, REDCAT, the Getty, The Lab, Yale Union, as well abroad, including at Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin, Melkweg in Amsterdam, and GES-2/V-A-C Foundation in Moscow.

A work-in-progress version of “BBC” was part of the 16th annual New Original Works (NOW) Festival at REDCAT in August 2019. Another iteration, “BBC: BigBlackOctoberSurprise,” a special virtual presentation in the days leading up to the 2020 presidential election, combined live-streamed and pre-recorded performances by Outlaw and was the first work of its kind on the REDCAT stage. This performance marks the official world premiere of “BBC (Big Black Cockroach).”

Redcat Theatre Info

For program and exhibition information, visit redcat.org. Redcat is located at 631 West 2nd St., Los Angeles, CA, within the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex.


You must be logged in to post a comment Login