Boumkœur/Cuisine et dépendances, Gezegd en Gezwegen

Different locations in the city

Dutch version:
7.8.9.10.11/05 > 20:00
12/05 > 18:00
de bottelarij
Dutch version: NL & FR - Subtitles: NL

French version:
20.21.22.23.24.25/05 > 21:00
Théâtre de la Balsamine
French version: FR

105'

On the one hand, there is a successful play: Cuisine et dépendances by Agnès Jaoui and Jean-Pierre Bacri; on the other, a best-selling novel: Boumkœur by Rachid Djaïdani. On the one hand, the trials and tribulations of an ordinary couple who invite people into their living room who would never be seen in a kitchen; on the other, life as it is in a Paris suburb. On the one hand, effective dialogues and French humour; on the other, a command of suburban slang, an account in the first person. On the one hand, the first work written by a couple who appear in the media; on the other, the first work by a bloke whose features mean his ID is always being checked. Now a Flemish theatre, a French-speaking theatre and a bilingual festival have come together to co-produce a Flemish company with a firmly established reputation.

Texts :

Rachid Djaïdani (Boumkoeur), Agnès Jaoui & Jean-Pierre Bacri (Cuisine et dépendances)

A perfomance by and with :

Mohamed Ouachen, Abdelmalek Kadi, Guy Dermul, Nedjma Hadj, Willy Thomas, Mieke Verdin

Translation:

Jan Simoen (Boumkoeur), Dito'Dito (Cuisine et dépendances)

Coproduction :

Dito'Dito (Brussel/Bruxelles), KVS/de bottelarij (Brussel/Bruxelles), Théâtre de la Balsamine (Brussel/Bruxelles), KunstenFESTIVALdesArts

Supported by :

Ministerie van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap, Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie, SIF

Presentation :

KVS/de bottelarij,

Théâtre de la Balsamine,

KunstenFESTIVALdesArts

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Dito’Dito is a Brussels theatre company that has been focusing on the realities of Brussels since 1996, and which draws on the city for its dramatic material. The company wants to look for more followers, which in practical terms means that the Dutch-speaking company has decided to translate its performances systematically into two of the country’s three official languages. At the same time, the company started working with young people and artists from different cultural backgrounds, an approach that not only broadened but also increased its audience. Nourished and motivated by curiosity, they invite people who live in the city and elsewhere to lift their heads above the parapets in an unbiased way.

It was during the first October-Oktobre event in 1999 – a project in which Dito’Dito’s actors present short new works with artists from different disciplines and other actors over a four week period at the Beursschouwburg and the Théâtre de la Balsamine – that Kadi Abdelmalek and Mohammed Ouachen presented their first version of Boumkœur.

In his novel Boumkœur, the famous young Franco-Algerian-Sudanese writer Rachid Djaïdani tells the story of a young boy from the suburbs of Paris who is battling with problems small and large, his isolation at being on the periphery of things and the difficulties of surviving in a great void. This is a reality that is rarely aired on stage here.

Before even reading Cuisine et dépendances, Dito’Dito fell under the spell of Agnès Jaoui and Jean-Pierre Bacri during the summer of 2000. At the time, Dito’Dito was working with the young Brussels company Tristero on Un air de famille, by the same two writers, in a popular café in the city.

In Boumkœur, a young man is trying to survive on the outskirts of Paris. He talks, talks and talks to stop himself drowning. He talks to exist. There is too much to say. Too many things happen at the same time. There is no time, no space, and no luxury of getting bored. He has to survive. It does not mean that he presents himself as a victim; instead, he goes on the attack, scathing, with words as poetic as they are humorous. He demands the right to talk, he makes people listen.

“I’m filled with hate too.
My housing estate is falling apart
And I won’t be doing my inventory
To the sound of Algerian music.”

(in Boumkœur)

In Cuisine et dépendances, some bourgeois forty-year-olds meet up again after several years for what should have been a party. They do not really have anything to say to each other. They do not expect any more from life. They drag their ennui from the kitchen to the sitting room, from the sitting room to the kitchen. They talk, but say nothing. They fill the void with banalities. Going to get a beer is quite an event.

Martine: May I ask you a question?
Charlotte: Yes.
Martine: You have to give me an honest answer.
Charlotte: Yes, yes. Go on.
Martine: DO YOU PROMISE?
Charlotte: YES, I PROMISE. HONESTLY.
Martine: Do you think it was really too salty?

(Cuisine et dépendances)

The play is performed by the actors who form the core of Dito’Dito (Nedjma Hadj, Mieke Verdin, Guy Dermul and Willy Thomas), and in addition by Kadi Abdelmalek, who used to be in the company, and Mohamed Ouachen who has often been invited to work with them. Not only is Ouachen the smallest of the company’s six members, but also the youngest. Literally and figuratively, he is closest to Djaïdani’s world and therefore Boumkœur will be interpreted by him. The other actors are themselves around forty and know quite a bit about the kind of dreadful party found in Cuisine et dépendances.

Boumkœur will be performed in French. As the audience at the bottelarij will of course be mostly Flemish, Boumkœur will be surtitled in Flemish. We do not want to break the language’s spontaneity, the slangy nature of it, which really suits Ouachen because it is his language too. This is not true of the language in Cuisine et dépendances, where every member of the cast has a different mother tongue. Natural impotence in the face of language suits very well the unbalanced relationships the characters have with one another.

Cuisine et dépendances uses humour and irony to play with the codes and conventions of bourgeois theatre today. Boumkœur does not mess with the rules, it simply has nothing to do with them. Talking is essential, so there is no time to worry about details. Thanks to a language that reinvents itself with every comma, we eventually get away from clichés connected to the “insoluble problems of young people in blighted suburbs”, clichés of which the media are particularly fond.

Two seemingly very different worlds, yet both are appealing for a change of air. Boumkœur is like a hurricane devastating everyone in Bacri and Jaoui’s kitchen: an unforgiving short-circuit laying bare the mechanisms of today’s world. Both texts relentlessly use humour to make indigestible realities easier to stomach.

The isolation of young people on the outskirts is even more blatant when confronted with the luxury of these bourgeois families of the “city” who cannot manage to live happily together, either as couples or with their so-called friends. The little party in Cuisine et dépendances would be heading for disaster if the characters were not described with so much humour. There are forlorn individuals in the midst of the party too. They get bogged down in non-problems, as if the complexity of the world around them barely existed…

During rehearsals, we will look at how and to what extent the difficult situation on the periphery of the city will bother the wretched little party in it.

Dito’Dito, January 2001

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