Cie Siyaj : Like a Couple of Brothers

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A cell. Two men, life-long friends, almost brothers. Two men in a state of suspension . . .

Time has come to a halt. There’s a chance now to look beyond appearances, beyond all the things that go unsaid, the lies, aborted dreams, unrealized hopes, fears and contradictions. Both Jeff and Grégoire are caught in a downward spiral in which by turns each involves the other to a greater extent. Each one is living at the other’s expense, the one mirroring the other. But what is it we see? Is it the mirror or the reflection?

“Like a Couple of Brothers is a tragic dead end. There’s the density of the script, the words. The emotions. There’s also unity of place, time and action. We’re plunging into the abyss with them, going back and forth with the protagonists in their past. Why are they here? What have they done? What are their prospects?

The staging, with its spare and symbolic décor, sticks to the task of encircling the script, the intentions and the deliberately unuttered words of author Maryse Condé. The audience is thus taken into the heart of the characters, into their secret motivations, which are unconscious and calculated. There’s a set purpose here, one that reestablishes a bare-bones atmosphere, one of tragic romanticism, which allows for getting to the essence of what’s being said on stage: an absence combined with all her insidious and explosive dramas.

The space is treated like a vise that is gradually tightening as the action unfolds. The music, image, and movement are there to blow the words away and to cause the action in this multifaceted  elliptical script .

José Exélis, director


Brief Summary


“Like a Couple of Brothers is a play written for Gilbert Laumord. It concerns two young men, Jeff and Grégoire. The play, set in a Sartre-like space with no exit, takes place over the course of a night in jail. The two young men have been arrested for a crime, probably armed robbery, and somebody was probably shot. Grégoire would have been the one who pulled the trigger.

Grégoire and Jeff are very different. Grégoire is a cynical tough guy, a real lout, while Jeff is a dreamer, a misfit, and fragile. They wonder how they should present their case to the public defender they’ll see the following morning, master Magister. Gradually their discussion turns into a quarrel. They go back over all the missteps they have taken together, with Jeff accusing Grégoire of having constantly brutalized him and making him obey him against his will. They bring up old flames. They open old wounds. . . .”

Maryse Condé, author


The Cast


José Exélis : director

José Exélis studied acting from 1984 to 1998 at Theater de la Soif (Theater of New Cravings) at the prototype for the Regional Dramatic Center of Martinique and studied as well under Annick Justin-Joseph, Peirre Debauche and Pierre Vial to name but a few. As an actor, José Exélis took part in more than 30 plays and was especially well received for his role in “Britannicus” by Racine, directed by Robert Angebaud and in “Haute Surveillance” (High Surveillance) by Jean Génet in a co-directed effort with José Alpha, in which Mr. Exélis’s highly nuanced performance as well as his restrained intensity won wide acclaim among his peers.

From 1985 to 1986, having taken part in directing several plays, he was then, after so much experience, able to talk about his own voice as an author, actor, and director. In 1994, he directed “HLM Story,” which was a resounding success in the Antilles, and won the prize for best director. Since then, he has directed quite a few plays, including the highly acclaimed “African Solo” by Ernest Pepin, “Iago,” an adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Othello” in 2005 and “Moses” by Lazare Kobrynski.


Gilbert Laumord : actor

Gilbert Laumord is an actor and artistic director with the Siyaj Company. After 25 years of artistic work and research primarily in the area of theater, but also cinema, music and dance, Gilbert Laumord formed the professional theater company Siyaj in April 2002. The company was subsidized by Guadaloupe’s Regional Office of Cultural Affairs.

A multilingual actor, he speaks perfect Spanish, English, Dutch, French, and Creole. He has taught dramatic arts in numerous institutions, such as the University of the Antilles in Guiana.


Ruddy Sylaire : actor

Actor, director, and PhD in medicine, Ruddy Sylvaire, finally came into his own as a man of the theater. Since 1990 he has been working as an actor with the Hervé Denis Company, in residence at the French Institute of Haiti, in Port-au-Prince.

Since then, he has been performing on the international scene, in Avignon, Montreal, Santo Domingo, Mexico, Ouidah . . . For several years now, Ruddy has made his home in the French Antilles.


Dominique Guedon et Valéry Pétris : Set design and lighting 

José Pliya : theater adaptation


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