KLII exorcises the ghost of King Leopold II through a mytho-biographical performance by theater maker Kaneza Schaal. Designed by Christopher Myers the performance draws on archival footage from Belgian filmmaker André Cauvin’s documentary Bwana Kitoko, mixing colonial aesthetics with traditional East African design to create a heightened visual persona. Building on Mark Twain’s King Leopold’s Soliloquy published in 1905, a fictional monologue written after Twain’s visit to Congo Free State and Patrice Lumumba’s 1960 independence speech in Congo, KLII considers the residue of colonialism in our everyday lives. Working with East African musicians and African American opera singers, the sound design investigates La Muette de Portici, the opera that ignited Belgium’s 1830 revolution. Schaal says, “our work is a repossession of canon and resituating of this canon within our own histories as black people.” KLII explores the nature of evil and the simultaneous looking inward and looking outward required to unroot legacies of catastrophic events.

Walker Art Center, April 14-16, 2022
REDCAT, June 23-25, 2022

Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati

Kaneza Schaal’s Anti-Monument to King Leopold II, Frieze

Kaneza Schaal,Creator & Co-Director
Christopher Myers, Design, Co-Director
Camila Ortiz and Ian Askew,  Sound
Itohan Edoloyi, Light
Jonathan Kubakundimana, Dance Consultant
Kenita Miller and Ian Askew,  Recorded Vocals
Cheyanne Williams, Technical Director
James Gibbel, Design Associate
Chelsea Goding, Managing Director 

Performers: Kaneza Schaal, Ian Askew, Sifiso Mabena

Original Lighting Design by Lucrecia Briceno, Asst. Emmanuel Delgado

King Leopold’s Soliloquy by Mark Twain, Patrice Lumumba’s 1960 independence speech in Congo, Discourse on Colonialism by Aimé Césaire, monologue by Christopher Myers

KLII is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation & Development Fund Project co-commissioned by Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN) with funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, REDCAT and NPN/VAN. The Creation & Development Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). KLII was co-commissioned as part of the Eureka Commissions program by the Onassis Foundation.