La Légende Baoulé: A shadow theatre adaptation of the West African legend
French Institute of Cotonou, Benin
French Institute of Ivory Coast, Abidjan, and Bouaké
French Institute of Lomé, Togo
The Baoulé Legend is the founding story of the Baoulé people in Ivory Coast and is well-known throughout West Africa. It has been adapted for shadow theatre by French playwright Michel Beretti, who first encountered the story whilst on residency in Benin in 2012. The piece was developed and is performed by Ivorian comedian-clown-puppeteers Fidèle Baïbo and Hyacinthe Brika Zougbo together with Swiss shadow theatre practitioner Anne Compagnon.
In this Swiss-Ivorian telling on the tale, three animals – elephant, hyena and lion – bring alternate perspectives to the story, which questions the value of the individual and the group and encourages children to assert themselves.
The show combines shadow theatre, masked play and the storyteller’s art to engage young audiences. In reference to the tales in Africa told under the palaver tree, the centre of the stage space is occupied by a tree, the only stage device, which doubles as screens for shadow theatre. Using shadow play, storytelling and physical theatre, the performers present a captivating multi-sensory story.
La Légende Baoulé is performed by the Deux Fois Rien Company. It was created at the Marignac centre (MQ l’Etoile) in Geneva in October 2017 and has been performed in Geneva, Lausanne, Sion, Fribourg, Bienne, Zurich and Paris as well as selected for the Charlesville Mézières World Festival in September 2019.
The Baoulé Legende is co-supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in Benin and the Swiss Embassy in Accra.