This impactful story of the Congo is brought to life through the wit and grit of France-based theatre ensemble Les Francophonies. Written by Mohamed Kacimi and directed by Hassane Kassi Kouyaté, the play journeys through a tragic century of the country via the medium of Congolese music, which has been historically monopolized by nationalist dictators but also serves as a space for expression and rebellion, as well as a force for change. The masterful cast move between playing in “the band” and embodying figures from Congo’s history: Leopold II, the Belgian king obsessed with possessing a colony, to Patrice Lumumba, whose assassination by Belgian police officers after the country’s long-awaited independence punctuated an ongoing maelstrom of violence and conflict that continues in the Congo to this day, despite its many riches.
Performed in French with English supertitles, the work’s razor sharp text cuts through musical interludes and moments of grave seriousness which are balanced with comedic irony and an upbeat sound.
Congo Jazz Band is presented as part of our 23-24 season celebration of artists from Francophone countries.
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