BOUJLOUD بوجلود / MAN OF SKINS, by KENZA BERRADA

WHY BOUJLOUD, MAN OF SKINS?

When I am in Marrakech, in this festival where I perform a first version of this work, I attend a concert of musicians "Joukjouka" from northern Morocco. In the center a big fire, a man covered with sheepskin dances around the fire and only touches the women of the audience with branches of foliage. "It brings fertility" whispers my neighbor. He goes into a trance and so do we. I then remember seeing this same type of outfit. I am 11 years old. I'm in the car with my parents, we make a long journey from one city to another in Morocco, and I see through the window, in a lunar landscape, a man walking. He is completely covered with sheep skins full of blood and a mask with horns covers his face. An eggplant and testicles hang from the back at the back. I ask what it is, my parents answer me: "Boujloud", I would not know more. And now it reappears in another form 23 years later, in Marrakech.

When he touches me that night with his branch. My skin reaction is to say to me "oh no it's not possible, another man who allows himself to touch me and who would decide my fertile future !! "

I find my title.

 

Boujloud is an ancestral rite in the aftermath of the sacrifice of the sheep - Eid al-Kebir -, whose legend places its origin in divine punishment. A man is said to have abused women in a sacred place, he is transformed into a human-animal. Masquerade is practically practiced nowhere in its original form. Boujloud, this being neither man nor woman expressing himself in groans and who makes his first appearance in an ash cloud. He is followed by his slave, young people from the village wearing "Jewish masks", a man dressed as a donkey and a judge in authority. The characters are all young unmarried adults, with the exception of the one who plays the character of Boujloud who must be a married man. This is essential to understand the scope of social control during the celebration of a ritual of sexual and political reversal like that of the masquerade. Indeed, only the character Boujloud comes directly into contact with women. The latter make offerings to Boujloud asking for healings and baraka. Public scenes of simulated rapes between “Jews” take place, violent blows fly, we chase the children in the alleys, we laugh at the sexual difficulties of this or that man in the village, we blaspheme, we ask forgiveness from God…

 

In this celebration, what is normally buried under layers of the unspoken surface. I can allow myself with this play the use of a myth to mark all the social, legal, political contradictions of Moroccan society. Do not submit to destiny and fate. No God is not, as too often I have heard in Morocco, "master of everything". Raise the clouds of unspoken ashes. Ashes under which many women still say "I didn’t think my story could interest anyone. "I want to put the mask on the other.

 

To seek the public from the tip of my branches, my words, my body. Carry them with me in a trance. A woman who plays a man, a woman who wears the skins full of blood of a sacrificed animal, invent my rituals, revive by speech and dance, exorcise.

The masquerade of the Boujloud festival is sequenced in four stages:

- preparing characters

- the procession

- chants and reverse scenes

  • the visit to the women and the final ritual meal in which the entire social group participates.

 

I try my way to follow this order. I write the play in four movements and four characters, Houria (the victim), Mounir (the aggressor), Tamy (the narrator), Boujloud. Each of the characters has their posture: a hunched back, clumsy legs, a head alert to the slightest sound, a voluntary gait. The aggressor has a ghostly and heavy figure, the heroine a slowness and feverishness which reveal impeded bodies. How does one go from the body of the one who committed a crime to the one who suffered it? How do you address another with your body? How to represent vertigo through dance?

Three monologues and a dance.

 

A FIGURE IN THE MEDITERRANEAN AREA

 

We find Boujloud, with different names in other countries in the Mediterranean area and not only. 

My interest is to play Boujloud in those countries where these rituals linked to fertility and mascarade exist and exchange with searchers of the area in anthropology about it. Point out the similarities, the differences and more especially discuss the place of this mythology in our modern societies. The focus will always be the question of sexual abuse and the female body. 

 

In Italy, we could approach our research on the trance with the tarantism. « Tarantism, apart from the fact that it is a very complex syndrome, is however also an articulated therapeutic system. Valletta delivers to the diaphoretic dimension 6 of the body engaged in the expulsion of toxic moods through the sweat of agitation and dance, a series of attitudes and techniques that actually relate to the self-induction of trance . Gilbert Rouget’s analysis is precise: the trance would be a change of identity and, in its course, it appears as the experience of a different identity. Music is the only language capable of speaking to the mind and body at the same time, allowing them to express themselves in dance form. And the rhythm, thanks to this agitation and the frequency of recourse to the accelerando and the crescendo, would have the power to create a state of effervescence particularly favorable - the reasons are clear - for the appearance of the trance. »

 

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