A collective of nine companies have joined forces for the 56th edition of Off d’Avignon, the city in the south of France hosting this prestigious international festival.

“I am very proud to bring my company for the first time to Avignon because we know how difficult it is for Outremer to show their work” in mainland France, told AFP Lolita Tergémina, director of the company. Sakidi.

She adapted “Le jeu de l’amour et du chance” by Marivaux in Reunion Creole, which is based on French lexical: “Kan lamour èk lo azar i zoué avek”.

– Democratization and emergence –

At the Théâtre de la Chapelle du Verbe Incarné, the company brilliantly performs this comedy, with French surtitles. “Mi prefer i done amoin la shans trap out ker plitok done amoin tout lo bien néna su la ter” (“I would rather be allowed to ask for your heart than to have all the goods in the world”) sighs Dorante, disguised as a false servant.

Lolita Tergémina, who herself plays the servant Lisette, sees the participation in Avignon as “the reward for 17 years of work to democratize theater” on the island.

With the aim of “raising awareness among Reunionese about the great texts of the repertoire but also promoting the emergence of a theater of Creole expression”, underlines the 44-year-old artist, who has already adapted texts by Dario Fo and Chekhov, assisted by Reunionese linguist Jean-Claude Carpanin Marimoutou.

“People are amazed, are proud and they come to the theater because it’s in Creole and they actually say the theater is super accessible,” she says.

For the adaptations, the challenge was to “respect Marivaux’s level of language, and to seek in our language the way to mark the social level of servants and masters”, explains Lolita Tergémina, who will embark on Molière. in Creole.

Isabelle Martinez, founder of the company Pata Negra, also measures the difficulty of “exporting” shows from Reunion.

“We would like to get rid of certain stereotypes, such as the one that assimilates us to folk theatre”, affirms the 49-year-old artist who is partly inspired by the universe of Samuel Beckett to create “Who knows what ostrich in the sand?”.

“It’s poetic, funny and lends itself to the art of puppetry; it is accessible from the age of six and breaks the a priori that it is a hermetic theater”, assures Ms. Martinez.

The play toured for five years in schools, hospitals, prisons in Reunion, but also in southern Africa.

The artist was trained in the art of puppetry at the Théâtre des Alberts, also present at the Off with an “Oedipe” for young audiences.

Other forms include musical theater with the “Qu’avez-vous fait de ma bonté” and “Ilha” companies, clowning with the “L’Alpaca rose” collective, a Pinocchio signed by the “Lé La ” with video games and street language, while the company “Kisa Milé” tackles the question of identity, with the story of a grandfather who was forbidden to speak Creole.

It is this pluralism and this contemporaneity that the choreographer Soraya Thomas would like to see highlighted.

In “And my heart in all that?”, naked on the set, this 43-year-old woman at the head of the “Morphose” company presents a manifesto that protests against the hyper-sexualized image of black or mixed-race women.

“Despite the aid we receive, there are 10,000 km that separate us and we remain unknown to French professionals”, she regrets.

“We are on an island in the Indian Ocean, we are forging links with the southern hemisphere but we remain French, we would like France to look at us with an attentive, curious eye, without premeditation”, says the choreographer.