Caligula 2 by Fadel Jaziri: The absurdity becomes a fundamental fact of our daily lives

On a strangely cold August evening, let alone cold at the beginning of the second week of the month, actors full of youth and vibrancy, dressed in white bathing caps, were on the stage. very attractive and beautiful actresses were in same color bath towel Shame. This is a mixed hammam. On August 8, 2023 the public, in modest numbers, made an appointment for director Fadel Jaziri’s theater play Caligula 2 with great actor Mohamed Kouka and very promising actresses and actors, especially comedian Slim Dheeb and actress Ichrak Matar Was. These are the three that, throughout the theme, caught our attention during this performance. In fact, Itcherk Matar, who is terrific in his score, was also noticed by Kouthar ben Haniya and starred in his last two films: daughters of olfa (2023) and the man who sold his skin 2019.

Criticism of Jazeeri is in vogue at the moment
We have criticized Fathel Jaziri and his troupe unfairly and through something fashionable at the moment, but his merit remains undeniable and always that he is an artist who has allowed the discovery of young talents, whether In world music or even in the theatrical world. Or even cinematographic games. In fact, looking at his career, he has been able to create a structure that brings together promising young hopefuls.
Admittedly, the name of the play Caligula 2 is from a work written by Camus in 1939, but in fact the dramatization of the play as well as its setting and its story have nothing to do with the original work. There is an attempt at dialogue which is tuned and which is conceived almost in verse, besides recalling the famous Ghaslit Naudir (1980). In the background, Caligula 2 represents those parts of life where the actors, in a playful manner, face situations of stalemate, condescension, violence, attempted rape, lack of respect for elders, murder. Thus the play describes those parts of life which expose a strong moral decline and the social actors who live with heartbreak, pain and above all, bewilderment by growing insignificance in all spheres.
The characters have familiar names: Sidi al-Bahi (Mohammed Kouka), a poet but suffering from amnesia, carries a red book with him that serves as a notepad to remember what he needs to do. has been inspired. El-Behi is actually a character thinking of himself as a savant who wants to open the big door to free his traveling companions, but in the end cannot find his keys. Thus, when he loses them, and this happens often, he cries out for help and appeals to the conspiracy. Another character, Mohamed Salah Harkati. He is an accountant who is abused by his boss and especially by the boss’s henchmen. His calculative logic lands him in a quagmire and in a very violent environment ruled by a mafia who has no mercy for the human soul. The female characters are Amel, Nurhain, Imen. They are mostly the victims. But they also seek oppression and they express the absurdity of their existence and the violence that comes mainly from men. They know they are at an impasse, but at the same time they still have hope of finding the happiness that eludes them. Happiness is always embodied in a generous and courteous person who will satisfy their demands and fantasies. They are women who want to rely on men more than themselves to live and survive.

a play that deals with imprisonment
In the middle of the piece, the rhythm is so monotonous that the audience picks up again and again. The play describes imprisonment, the inability to act, keys that can no longer open the doors they are usually intended for, doors that are closed forever. From this point of view, the play shows the extent to which our society cannot resolve its family, social, cultural and professional conflicts. The performance also addresses the spontaneity that characterizes the current era in wanting to eliminate the other, get rid of it, not feel selfish, cry out that it becomes inaudible and humiliating, and share the legacy and love of the simple. There are unlimited dialogues for. Profit without effort and without effort.
Anyone who sees this piece easily recognizes the work of repetition and refinement done by master Mohamed Kouka. The latter has been very strongly involved in this project since the Caligula 1 presented in 2019. In fact, this play is not insignificant, it has been performed in different ways by the greats of the classical theater of our country, starting with Ali Ben Ayed. Its recovery in two phases is also a tribute to the late Mohsen Ben Abdullah. According to actor Mohamed Kooka, the main message that emerges from this play is that man realizes that there is no divine value to decide what he should be. It is in this perspective that he comments that the modernization of the world is going towards its downfall. In this sense, the living world becomes meaningless, aggressive, raw, naked and highly intolerable. Caligula is thus disillusioned with the world, a critique of absurdity, populism and the loss of reason and practical understanding in the face of existential problems.

Mohammed Ali Elhau

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