Alone on the set, Antigone is now called Nouria. Brought to life by Ikram Aoulad, her words interact with the music of Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 15. She’s a law student and a muslim. Her brother was radicalized and joined the ranks of Daesh before disappearing in a suicide bombing. Like Sophocles’ Antigone, Nouria strives to find her brother’s remains, kept in the forensic center, so that he can be given a burial worthy of his humanity, despite the horror committed.
How do you make the voice of a young woman heard, alone in the world and yet determined? What compassion may we have for suicide bombers? In 2017 – barely a year after the attacks in Brussels – Stefan Hertmans, author of Guerre et Térébenthine, rewrote the myth of the daughter of Jocasta and Oedipus, which he transposes into our contemporary news. By infusing Nouria with the same quest for the absolute as the ancient heroine, Guy Cassiers’ staging reveals the strength of the myth. It brings to light both the prejudices towards those who are considered “foreign”, and the limits of patriarchal society.