Review: Carte noire nommée désir

Laughing women at a dinner table in a theatre piece.

French writer and director Rébecca Chaillon, of Martinican origin, has surpassed herself in this work!

Rébecca Chaillon directs shows and performances actively committed to the struggle against discrimination, be they sexual, racial, or gender-based. Said discriminations she questions with a celebratory taste for the grotesque.

In 2006, Rebecca Chaillon founded Dans le ventre, a theatre company creating a platform for exploring female identities, offering a report on the body and society. For the FTA, Rébecca Chaillon, a leading figure in the renewal of European theater, brings to Montreal a militant and irresistible punk satire which holds a mirror up to the audience.

Rébecca Chaillon says, “Inspired by Aimé Césaire, Audre Lorde among others, I try to make a poetic voice heard, with an Afro-fantastic or Afro-futurist resonance.”

The show begins slowly, almost meditatively. A woman scrubs the floor. She is covered in white clay and undresses. Another woman washes her to reveal her dark skin and then begins to lengthen her hair with huge braids. Other women take the stage and the show becomes a kaleidoscopic experience that moves, astonishes, and surprises. Dinner, jokes, dancing, announcements of love, and above all the connections between the women give a beautiful turbulence to this rich evening.

The seven Afro-descendants from all walks of life – poetry, dance, circus, ceramics – create in more than two hours a monumental chaos that lets the words flow, turns clichéd images upside down, and poses the big question: how to live in a society where machismo and colonialism limit imagination? The question that invites answers of all kinds, laid out in front of us on the big stage of Usine C..

The stage transforms constantly: a CHSLD, a pottery studio, an opera stage, and a dinner party. For artists and spectators alike, this performance is a confrontational journey and an exciting ceremony of re-appropriation infused with both familiar pop culture and the sacred desire to settle at the roots of the sacred baobab tree.

A tour de force!

Carte noire nommée désir is part of the FTA on May 23 – 26. Tickets and info HERE.