Theatre: Jacques Martial Troupe presents Aimé Césaire
Where: Rialto Center for the Arts (80 Forsyth St NW Atlanta, GA 30303)
In celebration of the centennial of the Martiniquais writer, poet and philospher Aimé Césaire, France-Atlanta, in partnership with GSU and the Rialto Center for the Arts presents the theatrical performance and interpretation of Césaire’s famous work, “Notebook of a Return to the Native Land” by the Jacques Martial Troupe.
Originally published in 1939, this groundbreaking poem laid the foundations for a new literary style which found expression in the political, philosophical and literary theory of Negritude, a French term for blackness. This embrace of blackness and the African cultural and racial heritage is something that was quite revolutionary for the 1920s and the 1930s, and in a way, helped pave the way to later movements of thought.
The language of Aimé Césaire must be spoken as much as heard. The poetry of this work is rich, alive, luxurious. Traveling through space and time, Jacques Martial brings to the stage a black man, at odds with himself, exiled into the solitude of his being, on the verge of a great uproar, who is making his way back to his homeland, that is to say, to his humanity.
Cahier d’un Retour au Pays Natal reflects the impatience of a young man, of his revolt in the face of insurmountable prejudice, foolishness and violence that endured all dominated people of that time—be it a Jewish man, a Hindu from Calcutta, a man from Harlem unable to vote. And in this way, he denounces enslavement.
This one-man-show is in French with English supertitles.
Following the Thursday night performance, Jacques Martial will give a master class to students from Georgia State University.
Jacques Martial is current Chairperson of the Etablissement public du parc et de la grande halle de la Villette in Paris, one of the largest public cultural institutions in France, dedicated to contemporary multidisciplinary artistic creation. Well-known to the general public in French-speaking countries for his role in the popular TV series Navarro, his cinema career has seen him working with directors such as John Berry, Claire Devers, Samuel Fuller and Robert Kramer, and includes prize-winning films such as Noir et Blanc (Caméra d’Or, Cannes 1986) and the short movie Omnibus (Palme d’Or 1992, Oscar 1993, BAFTA 1993). He is co-founder of Rond-Point des Cultures and La Compagnie de la Comédie Noire, presenting multicultural artistic events and using artists from visible minorities. Jacques Martial is also a significant figure in the fight against racism and social exclusion in France. In 1998 he became spokesman for the Collectif Egalité, a militant group fighting for equal rights for visible minorities particularly in the French cultural world. Following the 2005 riots in the Paris suburbs, it was his voice that was chosen to encourage suburban youth to enroll to vote.
Since the year 2000, his theatre company, la Compagnie de la Comédie Noire, has produced works such as Claudel’s L’Echange, José Pliya’s Cannibales presented at the Chaillot National Theater, and in 2003, Aimé Césaire’s Cahier d’un retour au pays natal, directed and interpreted by Jacques Martial himself. From Melbourne to Madrid, from Paris to Johannesburg, from Singapore to Fort-de-France, Bucarest, Cotonou…, the show has been presented across all five continents.
Photo credit: Martinique Promotion Bureau Photos by James Hercule
This event is presented with the generous support of: