Le Paradis infernal

By Tiburce Koffi

Directed by Binda N'Gazolo
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 »Hell is Human » A dynamic executive, full of promise, in a dark three-piece suit. He has class, distinction, his hair is freshly cut: a young wolf mafioso with long teeth, a handsome youth, tyrannical and sure of himself. This is the God of Paradis infernal. The play by Tiburce Koffi, which received RF1’s Gabriel Germinet prize in 1996, is a Voltairian parable as humorous as it is edifying, denouncing with sarcasm the downhill slide of our society. It stages a delegation of human beings who en route to paradise to ask God for an explanation. And indeed, His creation is in a pitifal state: famines, wars, massacres. It is his responsibility to remedy the situation. But these naive and idealistic humans discover a world even more brutal than their own, and eventually they revolt. The woman who leads the revolt is a sort of Lilith who has lost nothing of her impudence. She has encountered a strange old man who, in a mad embrace, has given her a red tunic and a torch: the attributes of knowledge, which are to open her eyes to her condition and the alienation she is suffering. Was it the serpent of Eden? Satan? or Ananzé the spider? Who knows? In truth, the old man resembles the soothsayer. All of this ambiguity effectively throws off the spectator. The direction of Binda N’Gazolo has dispensed with the fantastic: no magical teleportation, no supernatural effects. Humans are only manipulated followers, drugged by a soothsayer who is more of a trickster than a madman. After having drunk the contents of a little vial, they find themselves among Moses, John of the Apocalypse, Saint Matthew, Jesus Christ, Saint John the Baptist, and the Angel Gabriel. And in this operetta-style Eden, God becomes by turns the overbooked businessman, the cynical and haughty politician, the debauched chief of state who gets his rocks off with the angels. What comes to mind are those large hoax enterprises, whose financial scandals and permissive morals have recently been the talk of the town: Madarom, The Temple of the Sun and other Davidians… But in turning the tables, the denunciation of Paradis infernal goes far beyond the world of sects: the spectacle attacks the embezzlement of the entire global political and economic system which bases its power on the bamboozlement of the weakest. These poor ridiculous humans, who let themselves be duped by a vulgar carnival attraction! However, the message of Tiburce Koffi is not devoid of optimism: they have a sudden burst of consciousness and their idealism ends by getting the upper hand. Their revolt reverses the totalitarian order, and God must answer for his crimes! And if one might recognize God, on the other hand one must also recognize the sense of derision of the author, who knew to draw from religious lexicon and in biblical images to invent formulae of a surprising humor. by Sylvie Chalaye Translated by Kristine Butler

Music: Luc-Hervé Nko (keyboards), Ozée Khorsmer (percussion) Compagnie du Sphinx with: Ismaël Agana (Jesus Christ), Jean-Philippe Konan (God), Brigitte Attiahi (The Holy Spirit), Jean-Marc Fohé (Moses, Saint Matthew, Judas), Sylvain Gbaka (John the Baptist), Guy-Charles Wayoro (The Angel Gabriel), Ouedraogo Ablass (John of the Apocalypse), Ouedraogo Abdoulaye (Noah), Momo Ekissi Eugene (The Soothsayer, Kacou Ananzé), Oulaï Antoine (Chi Yan Ly), Django Benjamin (James), Michel Gonou (Ouédraogo), Germaine Kouassi (Akissi-La-Rebelle), Hélène Brou (Hélène d’Europe). ///Article N° : 5353

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