arts and cultures

Khaled Kelkal, a suburban experience

The show Khaled Kelkal, a suburban experienceA play by Roger des Prés, is based on an interview with the main perpetrator of the 1995 attacks conducted by a sociologist a few years before the events. This show, created at the Ferme du Bonheur, in the heart of the cities of Nanterre in the aftermath of the 2005 riots, and in response to the ambient discourse of the "kärcher" years, gives us an intimate look at the daily face of suburban disinheritance and the inevitable violence that ensues. After six years of a new cycle of terrorist violence, this recovery is taking on a new meaning, more desperate no doubt, but also a new form of necessity.
Ahe creation of Roger des Prés takes up the entire interview conducted in 1992 by the sociologist Dietmar Loch with the young man who is still only a young man from the workers' housing estates of Vaulx-en-Velin. Clearly aware of his wasted schooling, his entry into delinquency and his stay in prison, the young man is as clear-sighted about the prospects opened to him by the discovery of Islam, an Islam of propaganda, ambiguous and dangerous to say the least, transmitted by VHS. The one who responds with application and sincerity to the German researcher, will become three years later the public enemy n°1 in France: Khaled Kelkal, central architect of the attacks led by the GIA in France during the summer of 1995 and who will end up, in October of the same year, shot by the police in front of the cameras of M6 at the sound of "Finis-le! Finish him! ».
When Roger des Prés created the play in 2006 at the Ferme du Bonheur, more than ten years after these events, it was no longer in reaction to them but to the riots of 2005. Riots that were triggered by the deaths of Zyned Benna and Bouna Traoré in Clichy-sous-Bois, but which also followed the declarations of Nicolas Sarkozy (then Minister of the Interior) on the "kärcher" and the "rabble". At that time, France had not seen any more Islamist attacks for many years but Roger des Prés sounded the alarm: he had created the Ferme du Bonheur (Farm of Happiness) in the heart of the cities of Nanterre for 15 years and if he is putting on a show from this interview it is to warn that all the conditions are in place for it to start up again at any time. To economic misery, urban degradation and the abandonment of public services have, in fact, been added contempt and state violence.
Resumed in 2011, at the end of the very long sequence of Nicolas Sarkozy's presidency, the play continues to hammer its serious warning when no major attack has yet occurred on French soil. The impact on the public is however even stronger because the relevance of his words is then perceived by everyone with ever greater acuity: we are going into the wall and we are going very fast.
In March 2012, Mohamed Merah signed the return of a new Islamist murder sequence in France with 7 deaths between Toulouse and Montauban. A sequence that has since caused nearly 250 deaths and from which we are still not out today.
The new performances of this play, which will soon be offered at the Ferme du Bonheur, will therefore not be offered at all in the same perspective as the previous ones. Those who know Roger des Prés also know the power of his optimism, which alone can produce the poetic power of the place he founded. But he himself acknowledges, for the first time today, that on this precise subject, he has no other artistic driving force than despair. And if he questions himself with us, spectators and observers of these phenomena, it is about the sad possibility of "dealing with" this despair or, on the contrary, of drawing from it, once again, the vital energy of resistance.

Why Roger des PRÉS resumes his show
Originally there was this "slaughter" of Khaled Kelkal, 20 minutes later on M6 on September 29, 1995, two months after the attack on RER B at St Michel on July 25, and especially the publication in the newspaper Le Monde on October 7, 1992, of an interview Kelkal had given in 1992 to Dietmar Loch, a German university teacher-researcher who had lived for a year at Vaulx en Velin for his research on integration policies ...
Born in the suburbs, raised in the suburbs, returned to the suburbs, in Nanterre almost thirty years ago, the subject interests me, matters to me... I'm in!!! Reading Kelkal and Loch's interview and the articles that surrounded it, analysing and dissecting it... where the alarm signal was unanimous, I immediately imagined a staging of this dialogue... in the public space... at the foot of the cities... The idea scared more than one "cultural decision-maker", I abandoned it. On April 21, 2002, then the riots of 2005 made it resurface; I agreed to create the show at the Ferme du Bonheur in the fall of 2006, "avenging" myself from the spite of "abandoning the city" by throwing in as an epilogue a film of such violence that I myself have still not managed to see it through to the end. In 2006, the public didn't applaud, or timidly, feverishly... I did it again in 2011... This time it's a standing ovation every night... Nicolas Sarkozy was President of the Republic... After the show, we invited personalities, I particularly remember Stéphane Gattignon, ex-mayor of Sevran, who was very moving...
And this summer 2018, while I'm looking for the shape to give to the traditional -and naive- "Contre-Fêt 'nat' de la Ferme du Bonheur" ("only one nation is worth celebrating: the Earth, and not by a military parade") which each year inducts "la Saison des Grâces" our 26th summer festival, I learn the cold shower of J-Louis Borloo by Emmanuel Macron, his Plan Banlieue not even received!! On July 7th, I set the table again for Khaled Kelkal: the hall is full, no standing ovation, rather loud applause... serious... After "Khaled Kelkal, an experience in the suburbs", we had renamed it for the occasion "Has Khaled Kelkal aged?". It is true that since then there has been Merah in 2012 in Toulouse and Montauban, in 2015 the Kouachi in Charlie Hebdo, Coulibaly in Montrouge and the Hyper Cacher, El Khazzani in the Thalys, Abdeslam and the three commandos at the Stade de France, the Bataclan and in the restaurants not far away, in 2016 Abballa in Magnanville, Lahouaiej Bouhlel in Nice, Kermiche and Nabil-Petitjean in St Étienne du Rouvray... not to mention too many less mediatized, stabbed, or thwarted... not to mention elsewhere in Europe... in the West... not to mention the "jihad departures"...
I don't know precisely why I feel that I have to resume this show these few dates in November 2018, the alarming, preventive arguments, the proposals for a way out of the crisis, the terms of the successive "suburban plans" having been eroded ... I even wonder if it's not desperate, I, who built this Ferme du Bonheur nearly thirty years ago in the heart of a supreme urban disaster, and I, who moved into one of the Cloud Towers in the Parc district as soon as it was classified by Sarkozy as one of the "24 highly criminogenic neighbourhoods of France", I, who pushed the cork to the end by going to live in tents in the heart of almost all the cities of Nanterre, one week after the other in the summer of 2004 and the summer of 2007 with all the herds of the Farm, animals, artists, employees, friends, members, partners... under the label "Politique de la Ville" or "Contrat Urbain de Cohésion Sociale"... The national mood, European, International is not at its best, withdrawal into oneself is no longer just a temptation... My shows, my works, my Work... have always claimed to be "Activist Optimism"... This revival reveals the doubt, the question... Tomorrow?
(Source : Happiness Farm)

About Roger des Prés

"As an urban peasant artist, he is an intercessor: he tirelessly (or unclassifiably?) brings together people who should never have met, people from the fringe and people from the top, beings from other species and plants. Big vegetables and weeds, black sheep and young wolves, and also rabbits and horses. And with them, he makes culture that renews the most earthly and immaterial meaning. And all this in a landscape that resembles an oxymoron: an oasis of concrete. »
Vinciane Despret (philosopher)
Roger des Prés, trying to measure...
- First show emotions at age 22 thanks to Endimanchés, a punkish peasant comedy duo created with Alexis Forestier during the era of the Béruriers Noirs, and a definitive realization: "I'm born for the show!!! »
- First solo creation with the first 2 acts of the founding show of the Farm, PARANDA OULAM (Heart to the Winds, in Tamil), telling the story of a troupe of artists who went around the world in caravans, who tell, on his return, his discoveries and encounters, a song of Man under all latitudes and longitudes, his relationship to the Earth, the earth, the "living" ... and everything he created.
- Arrival in Nanterre in the winter of 1992/93 with a goat and a half, a dog and a quarter, two caravans... Creation of "La Ferme du Bonheur", births of goats, birth of gardens... Beginning of the reception of "foreign" and multiform artists.
- Public, media and institutional revelation with the enthronement of the construction of the favela-theatre by the show "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man" by Dostoyevsky. Well, it can also bloom in Nanterre...
- Creation of Jean Genet's violent "criminal child".
- Creation of "Khaled Kelkal, a suburban experience".
- Publication of "La Ferme du Bonheur, reconquête d'un abandonsé / Nanterre", éditions ACTES SUD (coll. L'Impensé), 2007.
- Shooting of the first shots composing the credits of the film " L'ennemi déclaré, Jean Genet Trahi par Roger des Prés ", 2012-2013. Capture of the re-creation of the 2014 show.
- Winner of a call for projects from the French Institute of Morocco for the shooting of one of the 2015 fiction scenes
- Roger des Prés is registered on the voters' list as a show farmer, he does what he thinks he has to do for himself and for whoever wants some, where he is, when he is there .

Show produced by La Ferme du Bonheur / Cie Paranda Oulam
According to Dietmar Loch and Khaled Kelkal...
Distribution :
Director: Roger des Prés
In the role of Khaled Kelkal: Antoine de Benoist de Gentissard
In the role of the sociologist: Roger des Prés
Light and sound : Pierre-Vincent Chapus
Production: Anne Métrard
Administration: Marie Robic
La Ferme du Bonheur - 220, avenue de la République 92000 Nanterre
Information and reservations : 01 47 24 51 24
Mail : contact[at]

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