Theatre : Romeo and Juliet are algerians !

The actor Azize Kabouche (left) with Aida Asgharzadeh and Kamel Isker, the two actors at the origin of the show The Hand of Leila.


The village of Sidi Fares and near Algiers, Samir takes the Harem, Cinema, small hall illegal and prohibited to women. There are plans, to the great delight of the young men who pay a dirham, of great western movies uncensored. Casablanca, Dirty Dancing , and even 37.2 in the morning… On the screen, couples snog, good, “galoshes”. The class of the overcoat of Humphrey Bogart, the song “As Tears go bye” on the piano from Rick’s Café, the scene of farewell on the tarmac of the airport… The classic Casablanca is the favorite movie of Samir. We are in 1987. A wind of rebellion and hope rises on Algeria, as the bud of an arab spring. Christine Ockrent, Jean-Jacques Goldman, Francis Cabrel, or Philippe Risoli ( !) is then export to the village of Sidi Fares.

One evening, the young Laila, the daughter of an army general, is inlaid in the cinema and landed abruptly in the life of Samir. This is the beginning of a great love… A love that is impossible tinted film on the bottom of Algeria was prey to convulsions policies. The romance develops in secret on the terrace of the house of Laila, in the midst of the sons of laundry.


Let us not say more. The Hand of Leila is a story of love universal, punctuated by intrigue, poignant, like a Romeo and Juliet. The text, lecture, and written by two of the three actors, the young actors Aida Asgharzadeh, of iranian origin, and Kamel Isker, of algerian origin. The latter took him into his family in Algiers the director Régis Valley for draws of atmosphere and local colour. “The water games, the terrace, the singing of the muezzin, the grand-mother are as many images of local life that have inspired us,” says the director. The device performance of the dryers is a wonderful invention : it transforms successively the glass curtain of the door, on the terrace or in the bus.

Aida Asgharzadeh, Kamel Isker, Azize Kabouche form a trio explosive as a dozen characters. Azize Kanouche is impressive with the features of the reincarnation algerian Humphrey Bogart, or even the tender Yemahadja (grand-mother). The Hand of Leïla is full of sensory images that open up an infinite field of interpretation to the viewer. It vibrates, it keeps hope, we cry the same. Without doubt the emotion of seeing a theater is so full of forces, evocation, and utopia. Unmissable !

The Hand of Leïla, until January 7, 2018 at the theatre of the Rams, to Paris.

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