Paris, le 4 octobre 2019 Générale de la pièce de théâtre, Les Justes, d'après Albert Camus, mis en scène par Abd Al Malik.

The Just Assassins

Reviewer's Rating

Described by the New York Times, as France’s Hamilton, Abd al Malik’s musical adaptation of The Just Assassins does more than giving “ethnic minority actors a chance to shine on stage”. Set in the beginning of the eighteenth century in Moscow, at the heart of a group of Russian Socialist-Revolutionaries who plan to overthrow the regime, the play mirrors today’s battles.

The group is ready to kill and “to die for an idea”, but moral issues and strong relationships get in the way. The assassination of the Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich happens off stage, the importance of the play revolving around the deliberations of revolution, political murder, and ideology. Morally, the climax is upon the arrival of the Grand Duchess in Yanek’s prison cell arrested after the murder. What better way to guilt a man who has killed than to have a widow describe to him the brutal death of her husband? 

Taking place in a three-story building, Amélie Kiritzé-Topor’s scenography is unforeseen, opportune and entertaining. Video projections on the complex decor give another dimension to the play rooting it in the twenty-first century. Similarly, the sudden interruptions of the Russian soul, a woman singing in Yiddish leave the actors frozen in their positions.

Abd Al Malik brings on the prestigious, recently reopened stage of the Théâtre du Chatelet, numerous movie actors (Sabrina Ouazani, Clotilde Courau, Marc Zinga, Lyes Salem, Youssef Hajdi, Karidja Touré, Frédéric Chau) as well as young first-timers who play the choir. The acting overall is impressive, powerful and remarkable.

It was essential for the rapper/writer/director, in the making of this musical tragedy, to open up a dialogue with his performers, discussing, as they rehearse, each of Albert Camus’s lines. “Human life should be the limit of every conflict”. On stage, the choir shares wider thoughts on contemporary issues such as climate change, patriarchy and international conflicts with the audience.