In this scene, Manray dances for the producers for the first time. To me, the cinematography is notable in that it explicitly highlights the “performance” theme of the film– Manray stands on the table like stage, surrounded by onlookers. Sloane is visibly uncomfortable while the other man is enjoying the performance, yet they are almost peripheral to Dunwitty, as Manray’s performance is physically directed towards him. The viewer actually cannot look at Manray without looking at Dunwitty’s head. Manray’s dance is not only a performance in that he is dancing for the three people in the room, but it is also in the very performance of the racist caricature that becomes the center of the rest of the film. In some sense, his performance becomes his identity. It’s also interesting to note the three screens (two TVs and one computer) facing Manray dancing, almost as if to capture or at least judge his performance as well. However, what also faces Manray are the pictures of great black performers in history. The black and white picture of Willie Mays actually stands out the most in the shot. This emphasizes notions of performance but also juxtaposes Manray’s performance with that of other black entertainers and emphasizing its strangeness and almost a sense of judgement/shame.
Lastly, Delacroix is not featured in this shot, yet he is known to be in the room during the performance. (He emerges when Manray stops dancing). This emphasizes Delacroix’s ‘behind the scenes’ role in the show, but his role as its creator, as he is presenting his creation to an audience (particularly for the approval of a white audience). We see later in the film, however, that Delacroix’s behind the scenes role is crucial to the success of the film; as stated by a female TV producer later, the show only works because Delacroix created it and he’s black (“so it can’t be racist”). With this reading, the fact that Sloane and the other black man are placed behind him (along with the pictures and statues), all facing Dunwitty, seems to purport that they authorize Manray’s performance as okay as they physically “stand behind” him.