Mohamed El Khatib
29.01 – 30.01.2022
When Mohammed El Khatib was commissioned to make a theatre production for children, he soon encountered a series of obstacles. He therefore decided to work not for children, but with them. He spent months in various primary schools, met more than one hundred 8-year-olds of various social backgrounds, and listened to what they had to say.
What he realized was that many of these children’s parents were no longer together, and that this divorce occupied a central place in their lives. The subject has been researched extensively, but you rarely get to hear what the children themselves think about it. That is why El Khatib asks the following in La Dispute: What question would you like to ask your parents today?
Children constitute an invisible social class that we expect to conform to our rules without having to teach us anything. Listening to their questions means taking them seriously. But especially also facing up to the fact that adults usually just do – and know very little.
• Theatre maker Mohamed El Khatib often brings the everyday onto the stage in his work. Whether it is fifty-three fans of a football club (Stadion) or a group of museum attendants (Gardien Party). He gives a voice to those we do not often hear and brings those in the margins into the spotlight. His leitmotif is social class and our relationship with art: what do we think are legitimate subjects? Who is permitted to speak? And who is in the theatre?
idea & realization Mohamed El Khatib | with Aaron, Amélie, Camille, Eloria, Ihsen,Imran, Maëlla, Malick, Solal, Swann (6 children in alternation) | project leader Marie Desgranges | dramaturg Vassia Chavaroche | video & editing Emmanuel Manzano | scenography & artistic collaboration Fred Hocké | artistic collaboration Amélie Bonnin, Dimitri Hatton | sound Arnaud Léger | stage design assistant Alice Girardet | musical training Mathieu Picard | photography Yohanne Lamoulère | touring sound direction Arnaud Léger or Nicolas Hadot | touring light/video direction Jonathan Douchet or Madelaine Campa | production manager Martine Bellanza | press Nathalie Gasser | production Zirlib | co-production Tandem – scène nationale, Théâtre de la Ville Paris, Festival d’Automne à Paris, Théâtre national de Bretagne, Malraux – Scène nationale de Chambéry Savoie, Théâtre du Beauvaisis-scène nationale, Théâtre Paul Éluard – scène conventionnée d’intérêt national pour la diversité linguistique, La Coursive – scène nationale, Scène nationale d’Aubusson | Zirlib is subsidized by the Ministry of Culture and Communication – Drac Centre-Val de Loire, by the Centre-Val de Loire Region and supported by the City of Orléans | Mohamed El Khatib is an associate artist at the Théâtre de la Ville – Paris, at the Théâtre national de Bretagne in Rennes and Malraux – scène nationale Chambéry Savoie