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Edouard Glissant’s Tale of Black Histories (Histoire de nègre), Guadeloupe with director Gilbert Laumord (Guadeloupe), producer Elvia Gutierrez (Mexico, China), and festival director Eddy Compper (Angola/ Guadeloupe).

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May 5, 2023
May 5, 2023
Live Stream

Join us for a talk with Caribbean theatre director Gilbert Laumord(Guadeloupe) discussion his latest work Tale of Black Histories (Histoire de nègre) by the late, legendary Caribbean writer, poet and philosopher Edouard Glissant. Born in Martinique  writer Edouard Glissant and his colleagues at the Institut Martiniquais d’études (IME) wrote and performed this intellectually rich, formally innovative, yet long-neglected unique play themselves 1971-72. They drew on works of history and literature—from Martinique to the United States, colonial Algeria to apartheid-era South Africa—to educate Martinicans about their history and culture, excluded from colonial education, and to link Martinican experiences to those of other black and postcolonial peoples. Histoire de nègre is a play in three “parts.” Part I describes the European conquest of the New World, the arrival of the first African slaves, the corporeal and social violence of enslavement, and the resistance and flight of the first maroon. Part II focuses on the struggles for civil rights, independence, and decolonization, and depicts moments of resistance in Martinique, Algeria, the United States, and the Congo. Part III, on “neocolonialism,” dramatizes the efforts of the former colonial powers to brainwash their former colonial subjects through political and cultural assimilation, and consumer capitalism. https://youtu.be/tjAyEQX8gXk Laumord will be joined by producer Elvia Gutierrez from the SIYAJ Company, Emily Sahakian (University of Georgia), Andrew Daily (University of Memphis) and Daniella Kostroun (IUPUI – Indiana University).


Gilbert Laumord is a Guadeloupean actor and artistic director of the internationally renowned SIYAJ theatre company, which is considered to be the leading contemporary theatre company from the island of Guadeloupe (French West Indies). His artistic work is devoted to the African-derived oral cultures and performance forms of the multilingual Caribbean. In 2008 he received the prestigious Mackandal Award, given by the Cuban Ministry of Culture, for his contributions to Caribbean cultural production.

In 2002, after working for more than twenty years in theatre, music, dance, and cinema, Laumord founded the SIYAJ theatre company with Elvia Gutiérrez.  Laumord has acted in theatre, film, and television. He played leading roles in many foundational productions in the history of French Caribbean theatre, such as the storyteller Zéphyr in Maryse Condé’s An tan revolisyon. In cinema, he is known for his portrayal of the President of the Republic of Haiti in the Venezuelan film Bolivar, el hombre de las dificultades (dir. Luis Alberto Lamata), which he will screen while in residence at UGA. He appears regularly at the Avignon international theatre festival (see the feature below). He continues to act in theatre productions in Montreal, where he currently resides.


Elvia Gutierrez (Mexico/China/France/US) She created in 2002 the SIYAJ company together with the actor, author and director Gilbert Laumord. As the co-director and producer Gutierrez works tirelessly towards the dissemination of Guadeloupe culture. She is contributing towards fostering Caribbean international influence through workshops, productions, international tours, research and training in the field of theater and performance, focusing on Cuba and Haiti, the United States and South Korea. Gutierrez organized artistic exchange between Paris and Tokyo with Master Izumi’s School of Kyögen and she was the production manager at the French Connection Project Métissage, working in France, Brazil, Guatemala and Mexico and became the executive producer of the project for French/German cultural TV channel Arte.  She was a co-producer for the Off Street Theater Company’s broadcast of the opera “Carmen Opéra de rue,” an artistic exchange between France, Venezuela, Mexico and Colombia. She collaborated with Casa de las Américas in Cuba for celebration of the work of the legendary Guadeloupean writer and giant of literature Maryse Condé. Gutierrez was instrumental in creating the unique anthology New Plays from the Caribbean represents a most significant and lasting part of the 2019 Caribbean Theater Project ACT (Actions Caribéennes Théâtrales)—co-organized by the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center in New York City, her theater company SIYAJ, and Stéphanie Bérard (France). 


Eddy Compper is the artistic director the Centre Culturel Sonis and of the Festival Cap Excellence en Théâtre in Guadeloupe where he programs the Ilot Jazz Festival and the Cap Excellence en Théâtre festival.  He was the founder of Casa 70 Room and Afro Caribbean Festival at Dream Space in Angola, Africa, where he started his career. Compper created with Pierre Édouard DECIMUS the Créole Blues festival, which later became Terre de blues, the Lokans festival, and Sacred Voices in Baie Mahault on the island Marie Galante in Guadeloupe. In 2004 with Soana Devarieux, he set up “Kolimel”, a training and integration center through performing arts.

Coming from a family of musicians, Compper created a musical group called OMEGA where began his career as a drummer alongside musicians such as Fréderic CARACAS, Dominique GENGOUL, Eddy LATOUR, Paul Émile Halian and others. In 1992 Compper set up the Sérénade Productions label in Guadeloupe and the United States to have more independence over our production and phonographic distribution and opened a record store in Guadeloupe. Compper is also the artistic director of the Cayenne Jazz Festival, the Matoury biennial in Guyana, the Gwadeloup festival in Guadeloupe, the Gwadadli festival in Port Louis and he collaborates with the Port au Prince Jazz Festival in Haiti.