It was in 1997 in Pointe-Noire, where he took refuge during the civil war that devastated the Congo a second time, that Dieudonné Niangouna created his company Les Bruits de la Rue to stage and produce the plays that he started to write while being trained in the plastic arts at the École nationale des Beaux-Arts of Brazzaville. With his brother Criss, he invented the “Big! Boom! Bah!” concept, the title of one of his first plays, that nicely sums up the intentions at the origin of this desire for theatre. For them, it was necessary to start with the world that surrounded them, the streets of their city, to create a new writing and aesthetics. It was important for them to rid themselves of a rather conventional practice, like the one that served as a vehicle for the Théâtre National, an emblematic memory of French colonization. A new dramatic language had to be invented, one that used French, but exploding it through Iari, one of the languages spoken in Brazzaville, Dieudonné Niangouna's oral mother tongue. So the “inventive energy” of Iari crosses French to produce a language that must be spoken by the actors and heard by the spectators, an energetic writing strewn with thundering flashes, coloured images and imaginative intensity. It perfectly suits the demanding construction-deconstruction of Dieudonné Niangouna's texts, made up of moments of absence, memory lapses, flashbacks, tears, scattered pieces, monologues and dialogues that don't write a linear history, but recreate a world made of odds and ends, tiny details that seem too powerless to provide an image of the real but that, put end to end, approach the truth. All Dieudonné Niangouna's characters cannot be summed up by their origins because they speak this invented theatre language that permits them to free themselves from the real to take flight, to rave, to rejoice with their words. They are as deconstructed as the language they speak. They are disconcerting, disturbing, torturers or victims of war, interned illegals or resourceful beings attempting to escape the chaos of the present. In Dieudonné Niangouna's work, “only the dream makes it possible to envisage the future”, even if this dream is sometimes dark like a nightmare. It must be fairly shared among all the characters because, in the theatre, each character has the right to a future, regardless of its nature. Dieudonné Niangouna is also a great traveller, in and outside his continent, refuting the label of “African” author, refusing to be considered an ethnic curiosity. More or less easily crossing the borders and obstacles that are now attached to them, he looks for confrontation, debate, imbalance, destabilization like his characters always a little on the edge of the abyss, always endangered. The false comfort of consensus has no part in his artistic priorities since the idea is to move and not to please, as a “simple servant of art”, the art of the theatre he has chosen to defend - a theatre to invent and not to borrow, a theatre that must move forward, since “inheriting has no purpose if you don't develop the heritage”. In this dynamic and to insert this vision into art in Brazzaville, he created, in this city in 2003, with Abdon Fortuné Koumbha, Arthur Vé Batouméni and Jean Felhyt Kimbirima, Mantsina sur scène, an international festival of contemporary theatre and performance, to which he invites a new generation of artists to express themselves and to create. In 2002, with White Square, he played in France for the first time at the TILF in Paris, then at the Francophonies in Limousin, where he premiered in 2011 The Base of Vertigos. The Festival d'Avignon welcomed Dieudonné Niangouna in 2007 with Attitude clando, then in 2009, with Pascal Contet for The Flying Ineptitudes.
JFP, April 2013.