Mohamed EL KHATIB
Stage director

Mohamed received a writing grant for his play Finir en Beauté.

 

What is your artistic background?

I studied literature during my preparatory courses for the grandes écoles, before graduating from Sciences Politiques, then a Masters in Geography and a thesis in sociology, on criticism in the national press. I attended the Centre for Dramatic Art in Mexico City where I lived before working for the Ceméa (popular education movement). I then became a theatre and dance advisor in the Basse-Normandie Region. For four years I taught myself writing and directing documentaries. Just as I have never been able to dissociate my writing from the stage, I have never been able to avoid bringing reality to the stage and to my work. In my theatrical practice, the document is an asset, a tool, the very essence of writing and its performance. This is the case, for example, with Moi, Corinne Dadat, a play in which I involved a real-life cleaning lady who I met by chance. Finally, since 2012 I have been artist-in-residence at L'L—a place of research for young contemporary creation in Brussels.

 

How do you see your profession today?

I have the feeling of belonging to a sacrificed generation, children of the crisis who only have that as our horizon, confronted with the inability in France to think about contemporary creation outside the art market. There are too few spaces for taking risks, spaces for research disconnected from the logic of production. As far as theatre is concerned, the global trend is (to paraphrase Éric Chevillard) that of a ‘verification’ pavilion theatre where the spectator comes to check that everything is in line with his or her expectations. However, even with this alarming, clinical picture I have just expressed, I must admit that belonging to the "creative class" of this country brings a certain luxury in my daily life.

 

How do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years?

As I have just bought a camera, I would like to make films. In five years' time, there will probably be no more temporary workers, and we will return to more traditional production methods, which is more suited to making films. In 10 years' time it is likely that, tired of looking for funding to make projects, I will probably exercise my rights to early artistic retirement and seriously consider a reversion to a non-profit-making field. Unless in 2020 I plan to run for the Orléans municipal elections with the plan to finally construct bicycle paths in the city, to remove the video surveillance cameras, to cancel the gregarious festivities around Joan of Arc and to force all the municipal canteens to serve organic products from local suppliers.

 

This interview was conducted in 2013

Photo credit: Anthony Anciaux