NEW YORK, NY— Caribbean Theatre Action / Actions Caribéennes Théâtrales (ACT), a project led by Stéphanie Berard, aims to build a cultural dialogue between the U.S. and the Caribbean and to raise awareness and recognition of Francophone Caribbean Theatre by translating and presenting works by Caribbean playwrights in the United States. Stéphanie Berard, ACT curator, describes the driving questions behind this project: “How to get out of this East-West relationship, how to move and shake the postcolonial axis that limits the dialogue with the neighboring islands? How to foresee a new emancipated North-East relationship that will connect the Caribbean world with the Americas, with this whole New World that shares a common historical legacy, that of colonialism and slavery, that of the encounter of multiple cultures, races, languages, that of “Creolization” to quote Edouard Glissant?”
On December 2 and 3, 2019, six contemporary plays by both emerging and established Caribbean writers from Haiti, Martinique and Guadeloupe, will be presented for the first time in the U.S. at Segal Theater in the form of live readings and accompanied by discussion with playwrights Daniely Francisque (Martinique), Luc Saint Eloy (Guadeloupe), Magali Solignat and Charlotte Boimare (Guadeloupe), as well as with the translators, American directors, and scholars. Comments from the authors who could not be present, Guy Régis Jr. Gaël Octavia and Jean-René Lemoine will be read as well. An anthology of these works is slated to be published by the Segal Center in Spring 2020.
What: Caribbean Theatre Action – Discussions & Readings
Who: Playwrights Daniely Francisque (Martinique), Luc Saint Eloy (Guadeloupe), Magali Solignat and Charlotte Boimare (Guadeloupe), Guy Régis Jr. (Haiti), Gaël Octavia (Martinique) and Jean-René Lemoine (France/Haiti)
When: Mon & Tues, Dec 2-3 | Discussions: 2pm; Readings: 4pm, 6pm, 8pm
Where: Segal Theatre, The Graduate Center, City University of New York,
365 Fifth Avenue, at 34th Street
The ACT / Actions Caribéennes Théâtrales project is initiated and coordinated by Stéphanie Bérard, specialist in Caribbean Theater, author of Théâtres des Antilles, in collaboration with Frank Hentschker from the Martin E. Segal Center at CUNY-The Graduate Center, Nicole Birmann Bloom from the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York, with Compagnie Siyaj from Guadeloupe, and with the participation of the choreographer-cultural producer Candace Thompson-Zachery as external artistic adviser.
PROGRAM – MONDAY, DECEMBER 2
Roundtable: Women and/in Caribbean Theatre
Moderated by Candace Thompson-Zachery
Street Sad / Trottoir Chagrin
Written by Luc Saint-Eloy (Guadeloupe)
Translated by Josh Cohen
Directed by Paul Price
Q&A moderated by Steve Puig
A prostitute is walking the streets of Paris. She does not care about anything nor anyone. One evening, she returns to the place where her brother Jeannot was murdered just a year before. There, she meets a mysterious man with whom she starts a conversation and enters into a dangerous flirtation.
The Day My Father Killed Me / Le jour où mon père m’a tué
Written by Magali Solignat & Charlotte Boimare (Guadeloupe)
Translated by Amelia Parenteau
Directed by Florent Masse
Q&A moderated by Amélie Parenteau
Based on a true story of a singer who murdered his son in Guadeloupe. Devised as a documentary theatre work, the play offers a diverse narrative account of the crime and the violence in contemporary Caribbean society.
Adoration / L’Adoration
Written by Jean-René Lemoine (Haiti/France)
Translated by Amanda Gann
Directed by Sylvaine Guyot
Q&A moderated by Amin Erfani
In a nightclub on a terrace overlooking the sea, a woman, Chine, and a man, Rodez, reflect on their relationship. Memories of desire, obsession, love, and hate mix with the sounds of the waves they hear from far away. Slowly, Chine unveils the inner workings of a dangerous passion in which she lost herself.
PROGRAM – TUESDAY, DECEMBER 3
Roundtable: Caribbean Theatre on the International Stage
With Luc Saint-Eloy, Daniely Francisque, and Oceana James
Moderated by Stéphanie Bérard
Family / Une vie familiale
Written by Gaël Octavia (Martinique)
Translated by Katharine Woff
Directed by Lucie Thiberghien
Q&A moderated by Nandi Jacob
A father hides his homosexuality from his family and tries to escape a stifling and suffocating family. The alcoholic stay-at-home mother is jealous of the relationships her husband has with her children. In this average dysfunctional family, everyone struggles playing the social games they are expected to play. The lies, secrets, and silences ultimately blow up the constraining social conventions they lived with before.
And the Whole World Quakes: The Great Collapse / De toute la terre le grand effarement
Written by Guy Régis Junior (Haiti)
Translated by Judith Miller
Directed by Kaneza Schaal
Q&A moderated by Christian Flaugh
Two women, survivors of a catastrophe, stand on a hill overlooking a destroyed city. The Youngest and the Oldest look upon the desolated landscape and hear the lamentations, prayers, and songs of the survivors.
She-Devil / Ladjables
Written by Daniely Francisque (Martinique)
Translated by Danielle Carlotti-Smith
Directed by Oceana James
Q&A moderated by Andrew Clarke
During a night of the Carnival Martinique, a female masked dancer meets an arrogant man who tries to seduce her. Drunken by desire, the heartless man does not realize that the predator is slowly becoming the prey of the bewitching dancer.
The translation of Adoration by Jean-René Lemoine and And the Whole World Quakes (The Great Collapse) by Guy Régis Junior are supported by the CONTXTO network (ARTCENA, Paris).
Plays have been selected by a distinguished advisory board:
Alessandra Benedicty-Kokken (The Graduate Center, CUNY),
Nicole Birmann Bloom (Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York),
Stéphanie Bérard (specialist in Caribbean Theater, author of Théâtres des Antilles)
Maria Brewer (University of Minnesota), Heather Denyer (The Graduate Center, CUNY),
Amin Erfani (Lehman College, CUNY), Christian Flaugh (Buffalo University),
Amaya Lainez Le Déan (translator and director, Buenos Aires).
External Artistic Advisor: Candace Thompson-Zachery.
The ACT / Actions Caribéennes Théâtrales project is supported by FACE Contemporary Theater, a program developed by FACE Foundation and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States with the support of the Florence Gould Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Institut français-Paris, the French Ministry of Culture, and private donors.
Stéphanie Bérard (Ph.D. University of Minnesota/Université de Provence) is a specialist of Francophone Caribbean and African theater and has taught in the US, Canada, and France. Her research sits at the crossroads of Postcolonial and Theater Studies, exploring the history of oral tradition, rituals, Caribbean drama, Creole and French, and drum music and dance. She is the author of Théâtres des Antilles: traditions et scènes contemporaines (2009) and Le Théâtre-Monde de José Pliya (2015) and she co-edited Emergences Caraïbes: une création théâtrale archipélique in Africultures (2010). She was awarded an NEH Fellowship for her project on Haitian drama, and a Marie Curie European Fellowship for FACT (Francophone African and Caribbean Theaters).
Compagnie Siyaj, Guadeloupe
Founded in 2002 by Gilbert Laumord in Guadeloupe, SIYAJ is a government subsidized theater company supported by the French Ministry of Culture. SIYAJ asserts a Caribbean identity anchored in popular traditions inherited from Africa (drum rituals, oral tradition, Creole) and favors interdisciplinary aesthetic forms (music, dance, drama). Promoting intercultural collaborations (Cuba, Haiti, and South Korea), Siyaj has produced 10 plays performed in the Caribbean, metropolitan France, Asia, and the US.
The Cultural Services of the French Embassy
The Cultural Services of the French Embassy promotes the best of French arts, literature, cinema, digital innovation, language, and higher education across the U.S. Based in New York City, Washington D.C., and eight other cities across the country, the Cultural Services brings artists, authors, intellectuals, and innovators to cities nationwide. www.frenchculture.org
FACE Foundation is an American nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting French-American relations through innovative cultural and educational projects. In partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, FACE Foundation promotes artistic, literary and educational exchange and collaboration between creative professionals from both countries. www.face-foundation.org
CUNY – The Graduate Center-Martin E. Segal Center
The Segal Center bridges the gap between the academic and performing arts communities through dynamic public programs and digital initiatives that are free and open to all.
Home to theatre artists, scholars, students, performing arts managers, and the local and international performance communities, the Segal Center provides a supportive environment for conversation, open exchange, and the development of new ideas and new work. https://thesegalcenter.org/