Interview with Binda N’Gazolo, by Sylvie Chalaye

Abidjan, February 1999
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Was directing God and his kingdom a perilous undertaking?
The main problem is that the author saw the humans really making a trip to God’s. From my point of view, God is an idea, not an anthropomorphic being, he cannot be seen. I couldn’t represent something on stage that I couldn’t even imagine. But I was able to represent those who speak in the name of that idea on stage, that is, the human beings who make themselves out to be God on earth. God has never been seen on earth, but we have always been in contact with humans who come to tell us what God says. My characters are ultimately only human beings.
You didn’t opt for the surreal angle then. Your characters do not make an incredible trip to heaven.
The angle chosen was that of mental manipulation. It is a delusion, we never leave the planet. They are made to believe that they are in heaven when, in reality, they are manipulated by an imposter. I talked at length with the author about this, because I wanted to portray a human who takes himself to be God. This choice does not exclude the surreal dimension, however, as it is nonetheless a journey into people’s imaginations.
Your character is not just an imposter who passes himself off as God. It is possible to read an emanation of a totalitarian order, the image of « big brother » in him, for example.
I am very fond of science fiction. Certain aspects of the text reminded me of Frank Herbert’s L’Incident Jésus. It is the humans who elaborate a computer in order to try to push it to the extreme, until it integrates the total consciousness, and this computer ends up becoming a god. Humans are the ones who pose the problem of God.
Which images inspired you?
The image of the sect. All the recent incidents with the Solar Temple, the Children of God, etc. In Africa, the mainstay of political power is controlled by occult forces, by mystical, metaphysical, or philosophical circles… In one way or another, the politicians are manipulated by thinkers, advisors, marabouts, astrologers, who claim to read the future, or to give supernatural forces… they are always surrounded by a sphere of influence. I wanted to find a metaphor for this muddle!
Which is why your biblical characters are such parodies.
They are all minor rip-off merchants who have flocked around a much bigger one, and who have taken biblical names. They take themselves so seriously that they fall for their own game. They are mythomaniacs who believe their own lies.
Why is the liberating character a woman? She is a real Lilith who clenches her fist and brandishes her G-string!
We say here that when God got tired, he delegated his power to women. So, who other than a woman could contest God’s power? In Togo, a few years ago, there was a movement of protest by the women, who threatened to come out into the streets naked… It is a curse for a woman to show her butt in Africa.
There is a lot of humour in the show too…
Even the most tragic situations have a funny side to them when you look at them with a certain distance. Especially with this kind of collective mania. Easily manipulated types exist: some are less than others, and that ends up creating comic situations. It was a matter of showing that when things reach these proportions, they have entered the realm of the ridiculous.

///Article N° : 5354


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