Facing the sea, for tears to turn into laughter

  • Dance
  • Show
The 2017 archive

Radhouane El Meddeb

Tunis - Paris / Created in 2017

Facing the sea, for tears to turn into laughter is a story of multiple identities and of a poetic dialogue with the history of Tunisia told through dance.

Facing the sea, for tears to turn into laughter © Christophe Raynaud de Lage

Practical infos


Men and women face the sea. They watch, talk to that space at once real and fictional, to that coastal culture which, from Lebanon or Tunisia, places people in front of this immensity that is celebrated, cursed, or dreamt... The sea we're watching, it's also those rows of spectators to whom we're talking without seeing them. Facing the sea, for tears to turn into laughter is the story of a man, both Tunisian and French, who tells of his complex identity. It is Radhouane El Meddeb's decision to go to Tunisia to create, with those who took part in the revolution, but also those who look with distrust at him who abandoned his homeland. To come back, to say the tempest of emotions he feels, to dance his anger at a country that abandons the poor to the extremists, such is the path the choreographer has chosen. Revealing a vision of modern Tunisia struggling with its ambiguous history, the show is about personal, but also universal, mourning. In the almost empty space of the stage, the presence of the text and of music tells of the way out that is water. Whether it be at the end of a long work day or before making a decision, it remains the place one contemplates, the place one talks to and to which one reveals its worries, uncertainties, and dreams of politics and absolute.


Concept, dramaturgy, choreography Radhouane El Meddeb
Artistic collaboration Moustapha Ziane
Stage design Annie Tolleter
Music Jihed Khmiri
Lights Xavier Lazarini
Costumes Kenza Ben Ghachem

With Sondos Belhassen, Houcem Bouakroucha, Hichem Chebli, Youssef Chouibi, Feteh Khiari, Majd Mastoura, Malek Sebai, Malek Zouaidi
And Mohamed Ali Chebil (singing), Jihed Khmiri (piano)


Production La Compagnie de SOI
Co-production Festival d'Avignon, Tandem Scène nationale Arras-Douai, Scène nationale d'Albi, La Villette (Paris), Cité musicale Arsenal de Metz, La Briqueterie Centre de développement chorégraphique du Val-de-Marne, Théâtre Jean Vilar de Vitry-sur-Seine
With the support of Institut français de Tunis, Groupe Caisse des Dépôts, Institut français - Théâtre Export, Conseil départemental du Val-de-Marne and for the 71st edition of the Festival d'Avignon : Adami, Fondation BNP Paribas
Studio hosting Ballet du Nord Centre chorégraphique national de Roubaix Nord Pas de Calais, Tandem Scène nationale Arras-Douai



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