16.03.19 15.02.20

Black/ the Sorrows of Belgium I Congo - Luk Perceval

Black 3 Michiel Devijver Robert Lebeck
In the trilogy The Sorrows of Belgium, consisting of the three national colours Black/Yellow/Red, director Luk Perceval zooms in on three dark periods in Belgian history. Respectively: the exploitation of Congo under Leopold II in Black, the collaboration with the German occupying forces during World War II in Yellow and the terrorist attacks in ‘hellhole’ Brussels in Red.

With these historical facts as a starting point, a portrait in three parts is sketched, where a political agenda was again and again the cause for human suffering, where surrealism is never far off and where a small country tries to stand its ground between big international powers, sometimes in a cunning way, but more often in a convulsive way … Welcome to the political centre of Europe!

As a source of inspiration for Black, the first part of The Sorrows  of Belgium about Congo, they used a true account by one of the first travellers to Congo in history: African-American William Henry Sheppard, billed as the 'Black Livingstone’. Sheppard travelled from New York to Africa via London in February 1890 as a missionary for the Presbyterian church. Together with his white travel companion Sam Lapsley – both men still in their early twenties at the time – he began a life-changing adventure across completely unknown territory, where he encountered one surprise after another. Unlike Lapsley, who couldn’t physically cope with the mission, Sheppard thrived, until the money from the church ran out and he had to return to America for new funds. On his return, he was vocal about the abuses in Congo, and he is one of the first to denounce Leopold II’s disgraceful exploitation. In Black, a reconstruction of Sheppard’s authentic travel logs will be made, inspired by the fiery lectures he gave to win financial support. He didn’t shy away from dramatic effect and exhibited art and utensils, responding to the craving for exoticism by the average Westerner. In America at that time, Sheppard’s lectures provided more than one shock: due to the colour of his skin, black spectators were allowed into theatres for the first time where he appeared, admittedly in the highest balcony. Sheppard’s story testifies, alongside a deep-seated fear for the unknown, to a ubiquitous racism.

52 Taxsheltercropped


standard: €28 - €20
reduction: : €24 - €16
under 26: €14


Multilingual performance with Dutch and English surtitles

Download the English program.

estimated duration



Sam Gysel


Luk Perceval


Fiston Mwanza Mujila , William Sheppard , Aminata Demba , Nganji Mutiri , Steven Heene , Luk Perceval , geïnspireerd door James Baldwin , Jef Geeraerts , Gil Scott-Heron , William Shakespeare , Giordano Bruno , Pagan Kennedy , Lucas Catherine , Joseph Conrad , Jean-Paul Sartre , Aimé Césaire en zuster Adonia


Steven Heene

intern dramaturgy

Lilly Busch


Annette Kurz

assistent scenography

Sammy Van den Heuvel

costume design

Ilse Vandenbussche

light design

Mark Van Denesse

direction assistant

Liesbeth Standaert

production management

Sebastiaan Peeters

stage manager

Marc Swaenen

lighting technique

Sander Michiels

sound engineering

Jannes Noorman , Frederik Vanslembrouck

assistent sound

Sibbe Velghe

stage technique

Eddy Deschepper , Ramon Blancquaert


Flup Beys

set realisation

Luc Goedertier , decoratelier NTGent

realisation costumes

An De Mol , Mieke Vander Cruyssen


Micheline D'Hertoge

tour manager

Katrien Seeuws

technical production management

Oliver Houttekiet

technical and production coordination

Patrick Martens

thanks to

Steve Dugardin , Elke De Brouwer , Ted Stoffer

this production was realized with the support of

The Belgian Tax Shelter



Friday 14 February 2020
St. Pölten (Landestheater Niederösterreich-Groot Huis)


Bedankt voor je bericht.
Er is iets mis gegaan.
  • Chrystelle

    Mijn zus en ik vonden de boodschap in de voorstelling hardstikke goed. Het ging niet enkel over de racistische praktijken die in Congo gaande waren maar ook hoe sommige mensen de dag van vandaag nog steeds op een negatieve manier omgaan met diversiteit.

    De scène waarin Aminata en Andie op een zeer trage manier bewogen terwijl ze het over Afrika hadden vonden we wel allebei echt wel de beste scène. Zowel de executie als de tekst bij die scène was prachtig. Alle andere acteurs waren natuurlijk ook echt geweldig.

    Er zaten wel hier en daar een paar stukken die minder ons ding waren zoals de scène onder de regen. Die duurde voor ons wel veel te lang.
    Ook was ik het wel nog wat aan het vergelijken met wat ik bij de repetities gezien heb en vond het wel jammer dat de comedie die ik daar zag niet helemaal terugvond bij de voorstelling zelf. Er zaten wel grappige stukjes in maar het was niet echt meer zo absurd als ik gehoopt had.
    Ten slotte was het decor en de muziek echt fantastisch!