In this region of West Africa where a drought has been persisting for very long, stands a big ancient baobab. One day, the ancient baobab brings forth an egg and from this egg is born a little boy. The people in the village discover that he is the only one who can free the source of water. Then begins a quest during which only the courage of a child might change the history of the World. In this sunny environment where shade provides a soothing break, the African percussions turn into animals while masks and puppets become genies or witches!
Griots who are storytellers are also looked upon as poets, traveling musicians and the guardians of the oral tradition. A man named Balla Fasséké, believed to be the first griot, began the line of Kouyaté griots that are still active to this day.
Since the beginning of time, adults have been telling stories to children and sometimes to adults. They do not always know how to read, but they all remember the stories that others had told them and so on from one to the next. This collection of stories is part of what is known as the oral tradition.
As a result, griots, like other storytellers in other cultures of oral tradition, are very important because for a very long time there weren’t any books to keep an account of the very old and beautiful stories they tell.
Written and directed by: Helene Ducharme
Playwright collaborator: Hamadoun Kassogue
English version: Leanna Brodie
Assistant to the director: Annie Bélanger
Scenography: †Ismaïla Manga and Hélène Ducharme
Performers: Philippe Racine, Widemir Normil or Epanda « Robine » Kaseka Kia, Aboulaye Koné and Nathalie Cora or Salif « Lasso » Sanou
Puppets: Jean Cummings, Sylvain Racine and Claude Rodrigue
Music: Aboulaye Koné assisted by Nathalie Cora
Lighting: Michel St-Amand
Shadow theater: Marcelle Hudon
Costumes: Louis Hudon
Research collaboration: Marie-Claude Labrecque, Sylvain Massé and Louis-Philippe Paul-Hus
Baobab is a coproduction of Théâtre Motus and the SÔ Company (Mali) created with the support of Théâtre de la Ville (Longueuil) for a residency and in collaboration with Hamadoun Kassogué (Mali) and †Ismaïla Manga (Senegal).