Dieudonné Niangouna: Shéda
Dieudonné Niangouna, director
Sets: Patrick Janvier
Lighting: Xavier Lazarini
Sound: Christina Clar
Costumes: Vélica Panduru
Choreography, preparation of the fights: DeLaVallet Bidiefono
There are three recurring themes in the work of the Congolese actor, writer, theatre maker and director Dieudonné Niangouna (Brazzaville 1976). They are fear, loneliness and the need for change – themes which were also very much present in his previous two productions, the raw and physical monologues Attitude Clando (2007) and Les Inepties volantes (2009). Both these plays were a cry for him to keep on living despite the infinitely deep wounds the war has caused him. Ninagouna maintains that our societies are constantly driven by these three principles, a trilogy of themes which has been present in his work for years, gradually becoming more prominent and now, after 12 years, having come to full fruition in his latest production Shéda.
Shéda is a ‘choral odyssey’ with twelve African and European actors, including Niangouna himself, and two musicians. Part theatre, part music, it’s an orchestrated stream of words, thoughts and images which are fused harmoniously in a layered theatrical fresco. It’s about life and death, violence and love, wisdom and madness, hope and despair.
The characters embody fallen gods from time immemorial who after an apocalyptic event have returned as ghosts or in dreamlike apparitions to this dried-up world of today.
Dieudonné Niangouna (Brazzaville, 1976) is a Congolese actor, writer and director. He used to situate his work on the streets of Brazzaville, outside the war wrecked theatres, where he developed a new dramatic language. Now he is one of the most prominent innovators of African theatre. In 1997 with his brother Criss he formed the theatre group Les Bruits de la Rue, in order to reflect the violence and the anger on the streets of the Republic of Congo. His work is centred on a sense of urgency, inspired by the bloody civil war in his country and the history of French colonialism. In Congolese society it’s difficult to survive as a writer or an actor, so resistance is key. Aware that the language of drama is intended to be written, expressed and heard, Niangouna combines classical French, the popular and poetic language of the great Congolese writer Sony Labou Tansi and the language and oral tradition of the Lari people.
Abdon Fortuné Koumbha
Production: Festival d’Avignon
Holland Festival Web Site
Detailed schedule information: