Miracson Saint-Val's work begins with personal experience, with corporeal practice, with the lwas—the spirits of Vodou—with which he wishes to experiment. But he also needs to find the right text. According to this Haitian director, Chemin de fer, the text by the Congolese writer Julien Mabiala Bissila, lends itself perfectly to the lines of enquiry that underlie his creative imagination, namely, a language based on the body, on Black bodies caught up in war. Chemin de fer, let us be clear for the sake of truth and memory, is about the Congolese Civil War, a war that has its roots in colonialism, a war smelling of oil, where ethnic conflict is instrumentalized in the neo-colonial competition for raw materials (Yengo 2006). In fact, the starting point of Mabiala Bissila's text is “a series of bombardments on the city of Brazzaville [. . .] where bodies are...
Theater of Ancestral Mediation: Vodou in the Performance Aesthetics of Miracson Saint-Val
Jason Allen-Paisant is associate professor of critical theory and creative writing at the University of Manchester. He is the author Théâtre dialectique postcolonial (Classiques Garnier), and of Engagements with Aimé Césaire (Oxford University Press, 2023), which is a philosophical study of poetry from the perspective of African metaphysics. He is also the author of two volumes of poetry—Thinking with Trees (winner of the Poetry category of the 2022 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature) and Self-Portrait as Othello (forthcoming in 2023 from Carcanet Press). His creative nonfiction book Scanning the Bush will be published by Hutchinson Heinemann in 2024. Among other matters, Allen-Paisant's work explores embodied experience in the context of Afro-diasporic politics and worldbuilding, often reflecting on the complex meanings of nature in Black life.
Jason Allen-Paisant; Theater of Ancestral Mediation: Vodou in the Performance Aesthetics of Miracson Saint-Val. CR: The New Centennial Review 1 November 2022; 22 (3): 79–101. doi: https://doi.org/10.14321/crnewcentrevi.22.3.0079
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