« We had to rearrange the two versions of the same text that we had. As Kossi Efoui’s theatre functions in a permanent rewriting of his texts, it was important to superpose them in order to propose our own version, whilst at the same time respecting his aesthetic of the fragment. »Kangni Alemdjrodo, Stage direction notes.
This adaptation of Kossi Efoui’s work, which draws on the two versions of the play, the first published in Lomé in 1988, and the second more recently published by Lansman under the title Récupérations in 1992, is a strange chimera.
There is no television set, no talk-show bringing together the top specialists on poverty, no reality-show that gets out of hand… Kangni Almdjrodo’s adaptation is much more safe, a lot less cruel too, and undoubtedly less sarcastic than Récupérations. A journalist who is researching into the life of a small slum community, finally decides to get the lost souls he was interviewing to play their own role in a big budget movie he directs. By these stand in « down and out » actors get fed up, and turn against the one who plays on their misfortune and kill him.
Whereas Récupérations mixes fiction and reality in an inextricable interlocking web which leaves the spectator spinning, Kangni Alemdjrodo’s La Récupération abandons the plurality for an adaptation that simplifies the intrigue, and proposes a more classical narrative layering in three acts: the slums (reality), the shoot (fiction), the downhill slide (the fiction effects the reality). Whilst this adaptation privileges clarity of interpretation, it also essentially denounces the political reappropriation of social movements, but does not reach the same degree of denunciation as Récupérations, which rips to pieces a porous society where the fake dominates the real, and where anything can be recycled to impoverishment. The excessively moralistic simplification clearly weakens the impact of the narrative layering and even the mise en scène ends up being quite bland.
But the real reappropriation of this show is that of the actors, whose talent and efficiency enables the show to fall on its feet. Macaire Kodjo Gbikpi is remarkable in the role of the young tortured child, and the prostitute played by Linda Ahiekpor never slips into cliché. Ramsès Bawibaldi Alfa, who we had already come across in a one-man show at Grand Bassam at the Festival des Arts de la Rue last August, and who recently joined the Atelier Théâtre de Lomé, gave his all in his God costume: blue dungarees, a wooden cross round his neck, and carpenter’s tools… a very clear allusion!
Stage design: Sokey Edorh
Sound and Lighting: Alexis Amavi
L’atelier Théâtre de Lomé (Togo)with Ramsès Bawibadi Alfa (Paul), Linda Ahiekpor (Moudjibate), Gaëtan Noussouglo (The journalist), Macaire Kodjo Gbikpi (Yen Yah), Claude Noutsougan (The policeman), Cyriaque Noussouglo (Kéli), Laëtitia Akolly (The social worker).///Article N° : 5355