MONTREAL — It was, the critics roared, an insulting and insensitive performance: White women playing black slaves picking cotton. When the show “Slav,” by the acclaimed Quebec theater director Robert Lepage, premiered at the Montreal International Jazz Festival last week, it immediately spawned a backlash and criticism that white artists had recklessly appropriated black culture. The production bills itself as a “theatrical odyssey” inspired by “traditional African-American slave and work songs.” It also features a nearly all-white cast performing the music. Its director, Mr. Lepage, is white, as is its star Betty Bonifassi. Two of the seven cast members are black, including Kattia Thony, who plays a young black woman searching for the roots of her identity. On Wednesday, the storm proved too much, and the jazz festival and Ms. Bonifassi canceled the show after only two performances. It had sold more than 8,000 tickets and was scheduled for 16 performances. The festival said it had been “shaken” by the intensity of the response. “We would like to apologize to those who were hurt,” it said in a statement. “It was not our intention at all.” The anger provoked by the production had been visceral and swift as artists of all stripes asked why Mr. Lepage hadn’t bothered to hire more black actors and singers. The production also raised thorny questions about how to differentiate cultural appreciation from cultural appropriation and accusations, fairly or not, that its white creators had engaged in a modern-day form of blackface. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/04/...-that-cast-white-singers-as-black-slaves.html “This kind of black imitation is very reminiscent of blackface minstrel shows,” the singer-songwriter Moses Sumney wrote in a letter to the festival, explaining his decision to withdraw from it. “The only thing missing is black paint.” At the show’s premiere last week, protesters heckled, jeered and blocked theatergoers, mostly older and white, as they tried to enter the performance at the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde in downtown Montreal. The protesters chanted “Shame! Shame! Shame!,” “Dirty racists!” “White supremacists!” Police cleared the way for the audience.