Mahmoud & Nini

  • Theatre
  • Show
The 2019 archive

Henri jules Julien

Cairo - Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy

Mahmoud and Nini, actors and characters and strangers to each other, try to escape unavoidable prejudices in an uncertain practice of difference.

Mahmoud & Nini © Christophe Raynaud de Lage


Mahmoud is Egyptian. Nini is French. Mahmoud is black, Nini is white. Mahmoud is a man and Nini a woman, Mahmoud speaks Arabic, and Nini French. We could keep adding to this list of opposites, which might at first glance be endless sources of misunderstanding. Except that through the mediation of director Henri Jules Julien, actors Virginie and Mahmoud met in a train station and decided to create a show based on this encounter. “We've tried to go as far as possible with the questions we each had about the other, and to express our curiosity and our prejudices without being afraid of empathy or mistakes.” From identity clashes to ideological doubts, from clichés to clumsy platitudes, from misunderstandings caused by inaccurate translation to the tricks used to try and get a glimpse of who we are and who the other is: the twists and turns of language and of being are the very material of Mahmoud & Nini, a show which explores this “cross-cultural encounter” and its complications, when one sincerely wishes to meet the other.

A chemical engineer by training, Henri Jules Julien does theatre, writes for the radio (France Culture), is a translator and a producer—depending on where he is needed. He's lived for years in the Arab worlds, whose great poets (Rasha Omran, Carol Sansour, Malaka Badr...) he translates, all while producing in Europe artists from Egypt (Ahmed El Attar, Hassan El Geretly...), Morocco (Youness Atbane, Khalid Benghrib...), Syria, or Lebanon. Mahmoud & Nini is his third show, based on an idea born in Cairo. He currently resides in Casablanca. 


With Mahmoud El Haddad, Virginie Gabriel

Text and direction Henri Jules Julien
Dramaturgy Youness Anzane, Sophie Bessis
Translation Mireille Mikhail, Mahmoud El Haddad, Criss Niangouna


Production Haraka Baraka
Co-production Centre de culture ABC La Chaux-de-Fonds (Suisse), Le Tarmac Scène internationale francophone (Paris), CCAM Scène nationale Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy
With the support of Théâtre Athénor Saint-Nazaire, Drac Île-de-France, Arcadi, Ville de La Chaux-de-Fonds, Institut français d'Égypte
In partnership with France Médias Monde

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