Marie-Line Dahomay : “Jealousy punctuates my life, and I don’t think I’m the only one in Guadeloupe”

The book of Marie-Line Dahomay, “Moun A Jalouzi” (3rd prize in the 2021 “Textes en Parole” competition) has been adapted to the theater and the play will be performed by Mickaël Blamèble and Esther Myrtil, on Saturday, May 4 at 7:00 pm during the 8th edition of the Festival Cap Excellence en Théâtre in Les Abymes. The singer and writer continues the promotion of her book (published by Éditions Nèg Mawon) which deals with jealousy in Guadeloupe through talks. The next meeting with the public will also take place on Saturday, May 4 at 10:00 am at the Yvon Leborgne media library in Port-Louis.

Jalouzi a moun Félix Proto 2024.04.05

Kariculture : We knew you as a singer, but not as a playwright. Is “Jalouzi A Moun” your first theatrical work?

Marie-Line Dahomay : Of course, music and singing predominate among my main activities… but deep down I love to write, whether it’s poems, letters, articles or books. Yes, I love writing and I love to write. As a child, and even as an adult, I sometimes created scenes. I really enjoyed acting classes with Joël Jernidier, Gilbert Laumord, Martine Plocoste and Ary Kancel. With some friends, we paid tribute to Ernest Pépin by staging an extract from his book “Tambour Babel”. Carole Vénutolo’s Opéra Ka also allowed me to discover musical comedy for a decade. So theater has been a part of me for a very long time. However, “Jalouzi A Moun” is the first work published by Editions Nèg Mawon.

Kariculture : Why did you decide to write this play, and why the theme of jealousy?

M.-L. D : During lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic (An tan Konfinman-Kovid)… this play took shape. But I’d been carrying it around with me for several years. It’s largely based on stories. Jealousy punctuates my life, and I don’t think I’m the only one in Guadeloupe. We meet it at all levels, at work, in music, in the family, on the benches of schools, in the couple, in the street. Jealousy in itself, jealousy aroused, I understood that it’s an interactive process in which the jealous and the “jealoused” have complex and often perverse links. This feeling undermines our relationship and prevents us from moving forward, especially when the latter stands firm on their prejudices, those on their apriori, others on “I don’t like this guy’s face” without reason. Jealousy exists all over the country, but I’ve come to the point where I wonder if it would not have a singular trait in our island, due to our colonial past…. Didn’t William Lynch advocate, in order to better control slaves, to play up “the differences” between them in order to create fear, mistrust, envy, and therefore jealousy? It’s a research track… So during lockdown (An tan Konfinman-Kovid), I had plenty of time to work on this one-man stage play, which won the 3rd prize in the “Textes en Parole” 2021 competition.

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Kariculture : You chose Creole to express yourself. Was it normal to use the language of the country to talk about relations between the local people?

M.-L. D : Creole isn’t a choice or an option for me. It’s the reality of my daily life : I speak, think and compose spontaneously in Creole. It’s through this language that I best express my feelings, moods and emotions. Jèwmèn (Germaine), the central character in “Jalouzi A Moun”, is a Guadeloupean woman from the Badlasous district in Pointe-à-Pitre. From the outset, the play presents her as a woman firmly rooted in her culture. She protests, for example, against the end of the “véyé” (wake) during lockdown. But in the play, there is also a “voice-over” who guides her through the meanders of her jealousy, sometimes speaking in French when she enters into a kind of trance or delirium. So Creole and French intersect here. Creole is increasingly studied in European universities. So the book has been translated into French to reach a wider audience.

Kariculture : What can you say about the two actors – Mickaël Blamèble and Esther Myrtil – who perform “Moun A Jalouzi”?

M.-L. D : Mickaël Blamèble and Esther Myrtil are two very talented actors. I knew Mickaël as a singer, but now I discover him as a director and adaptor. I pay tribute to his work that has made “Jalouzi a Moun” in a highly original concept. Esther captivated me at the first performance in November. She embodies Jèwmèn in all her glory. With humor, she knows how to make this character friendly and create a kind of complicity with the audience. I think everyone can relate to her. We laugh… we cry… I’ll say no more. I invite everyone to come and see “Jalouzi a Moun” on May 4 at the Salle Félix Proto in Les Abymes.

Kariculture : Are you planning to tour with “Moun A Jalouzi”?

M.-L. D : The author doesn’t necessarily follow the tour. The play no longer belongs to him. But however, if I were invited to go on tour, I would be delighted, because this book provokes a passionate debate every time I present it! That’s why I organize talks entitled “Jalouzaj” in various places in Guadeloupe, in media libraries, bars, cultural centers… wherever I’m invited. I chose the word “Jalouzaj” because jealousy can be a collective process, not just individual… The next talk will be held on Saturday, May 4 at 10:00 am at the Port-Louis media library. I’ll be with sociologist and anthropologist Raymond Otto, who knows the foundations and workings of our society.

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