One day, it was really quite cold, I was on my bench as usual, all alone. Suddenly, a young woman approaches, she sits next to me, I didn’t look at her. She smells good. She does not say a word and I hear her crying. And then, she puts her head on my shoulder. I thought my heart had stopped beating. I stayed still, I don’t know how long for, the sun had gone down, the fishmonger had closed his shop a long time ago and she was sleeping on my shoulder. I felt like a tree. I wanted to never move again. I wanted it never to stop. So I closed my eyes. But she woke up and she left.
Sometimes we see another one in a cafe. He is alone. He has a drink in front of him but he doesn’t take a sip. His body, his appearance, the way he holds himself very straight, dressed up, all tell a story that we would like to hear. But he does not speak. He clearly isn’t waiting for anyone. No woman joins him, no friend to play dominoes, cards, or drink with him. Who are they? Immigrant workers, torn between the two shores of the Mediterranean, who have grown old here in France. They remained alone, for various reasons. They did not return home. France became their country, they brought their dreams here, but they became ghosts. In mythology, in the kingdom of Hades (epithet meaning "the invisible"), the one who managed to enter the kingdom of the dead, could observe, question the ancestors, and return to the world of the living armed with this wisdom, on one condition: that of not sitting in the "chair of oblivion".
Text and staging Nasser Djemaï | Playwriting Natacha Diet | Avec David Arribe, Martin | Angelo Aybar, Majid | Azzedine Bouayad, El Hadj | Azize Kabouche, Hamid | Kader Kada, Shériff | Lounès Tazaïrt, Driss | with the participation of Chantal Mutel, Louise | Stage assistant Clotilde Sandri | Sound design Frédéric Minière and Alexandre Meyer | Staging Michel Gueldry | Lighting design Renaud Lagier | Video design Quentin Descourtis | Costume Marion Mercier, with help of Olivia Ledoux | Location manager Frantz Parry | Sound and video director Dominique Bolle | Lighting director Ziggy Durand | Make up Sylvie Giudiccelli
Creation on 22nd November 2011 at the MC2: Grenoble – 3 countries, 226 shows
Associate production: MC2: Grenoble | Co-production: Maison de la Culture de Bourges, Le Granit / Scène Nationale de Belfort, Compagnie Nasser Djemaï, Théâtre Liberté / Toulon, Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne, Le Domaine d’Ô / Domaine départemental d’art et de culture de l’Hérault | With the support of CENTQUATRE | The Nasser Djemaï troupe has been commissioned by the Ministry of Culture and Communication - D.R.A.C. Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and subsidised by the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region, the Departmental Council of Isère and the City of Grenoble.
The Invisibles, la tragédie des chibanis text received production assistance from the National Theatre Centre, the author received support from the SACD and the Beaumarchais association. It is published by Actes Sud Papiers. This project received assistance from SACD and SYNDEAC.
Molières 2014 nominations:
- Molière du Théâtre Public (Public theatre),
- Molière de l’Auteur francophone vivant (living French author),
- Molière du Metteur en scène d’un spectacle de théâtre public (public theatre director)
“Invisibles” but radiant . Nasser Djemaï provides first-generation Algerian immigrants with a theatrical existence. LE MONDE
The staging is sober, effective: a table, a few chairs, a swivel base cabinet that hides a makeshift bed... Hell is printed on the black background of the scene: projections of giant ghosts, liquid seas or skies... The acting style is sparing and is inspired by the exhausted gestures of fallen workers. The direction of the actor on a thread ensured that it avoided naturalism and pathos. Angelo Aybar, Azzedine Bouayad, Kader Kada, Mostefa Stiti and Lounès Tazaïrt impose their human and strong presence. Without overdoing it, they create the emotion. David Arribe aptly plays the character of the young Martin, but must be able to have more inwardness. The essential point is for you to follow this "Tragedy of the Chibanis" with an extraordinary intensity and a painful conscience. A tragedy of racism, loneliness, the absurdity of social relations in our cities, on our doorstep. When the theatre tells the world better than a documentary, it is because it rhymes with art. Congratulations, Nasser Djemaï. LES ECHOS
An initiatory narrative carried out in an undeniably poetic fashion, under which a compelling political story softly crawls. The making of Invisibles, which undoubtedly represents a beneficial step forward in our dramatic universe, testifies at every opportunity to the essence of Nasser Djemaï's talent, who we also know is a spectacular actor. L'HUMANITÉ
Memories heard in words collected at the doors of cafes, mosques or Sonacostra homes with a dismal reputation. Nasser Djemaï has rebuilt their memories. With his well-supplied palette, he was able to enrich these outlines to make real theatre characters. The wise man who manages paperwork for others, the disappointed generous man with the paternal streak, the silent man scarred by the Algerian war, the ex-hottie who remembers what he once was... Often seated at the Formica table for a game of dominoes, sometimes lined up on their chairs like a decorative fresco, they gamble like an ancient choir. Weaving the chronicle of their past ("They lied to us about everything: war, work and retirement") and that of the time moving without them: the loneliness of women, the arrogance of the gang leaders (who could really do with spending some time back in the homeland), the downward spirals of their country of origin struggling to build a bright future. TÉLÉRAMA