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  • Musika
  • Aristide Tarnagda
    Translated by Heather J. Denyer

What price did you pay to live in peace in this country?

Bernard-Marie Koltès


Simba, a young man
Musika, a young woman
John, a man
Muhinda, a young woman
Wamba, Musika's grandmother



(Greeting the audience.) Yes, yes, yes, ladies and gentlemen.1 Welcome. Take your seats. Make yourselves comfortable. Feel at ease. Don't worry about your cell phone, or the echoes of your laughter. Let yourselves go. Be transported. Transfigured. Don't stifle your laughs or the rings of your cell phones. After all, we're at the theatre, not at the morgue. Enough of these cemetery performances.

You see what I'm saying? What is this theatre where you can't even answer your phone anymore? At each performance, there's always a dude or a chick to tell you: "Turn off your damn cell phones, please." Come turn it off for me, jerk! As if it's you who bought it for me!

No, but they're exhausting! What is theatre where you can't talk to your neighbor anymore, to say to them, for example: "Do you think that I could become friends with my wife?" "Shit! Shit! You know, I forgot the condoms in my other pants pocket, shit." "That actor sucks, their portrayal's really not modern." "Hey, her balcony is stuffed, I could get drunk on that friggin' balcony, dancing the rhumba of Papa Wemba or Tshala Muana …"2 [End Page 103]

Well, well, ladies and gentlemen, yes, yes, yes. Welcome to this theatre that I conceived, thought up, only to please you. I've named it Reality Theatre. Because the others who don't even want you to fart any more in their lousy theatre, those dudes are disconnected from reality. They mix up theatre and TV. Because really, it's only on TV that you can't even cough anymore. Some dude lets himself suffocate from a coughing fit, simply because he's live on TV, killing us with a shitty speech! No joke! So, I seized my courage with both hands and I went to see the sponsors. You'll meet them in a little while, and you can join me in saying a big thank you to them. Because it's the same old song: "There's a crisis, there's no more cash, nya-nya-ni, nya-nya-na …"3

For that too, people, you've let yourself be screwed for years and something will have to be done … Yes, yes, yes, you've been screwed really badly! Because, holy black cow, money doesn't have wings to fly or feet to run …

But alright, I digress a little, no?

So, I was telling you that thanks to our sponsors whom I will ask you to applaud, I'll name them for you later, don't worry, you are entitled today. Right away, this very minute, you're going to experience for the first time in your life Reality Theatre. It's going to be magical, you'll see … Cross my heart. And I repeat, feel at ease! Don't let yourselves get an ulcer because you held in your farts during the whole show, or suffocate from a fit of suppressed coughs. Answer your phone calls. Get the phone numbers of your neighbors, and make babies after our Reality Theatre. Take flash photos, or better yet, watch our show from your phone even if you're in the theatre …

Yes, yes, yes, ladies and gentlemen, you're not dreaming! So, without further ado, let's embark for magic, the sensational, the best, let's get the show started, which, I remind you, began over half-a-century ago …


What can you know of exile and death when you're barely twenty-five?

Dany Laferrière

(At the edge of the forest.)


So Musika, what did your grandmother say?


Simba, do you really think she's at the age of running away, my grandmother?


So, what do we do?


I can't …



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pp. 103-119
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