SACD - Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques
playwright database
News from Abroad
Translation Database
Playwrights Corner
In the Spotlight
New Plays in Print
Actes du théâtre Archives
Actes du théâtre :
Site Map
[ français ]

Playwright database

Ismaël Saïdi
Actes du théâtre n° 87.[ imprimer ]
Ben, Reda and Ismaël are three young men from Brussels facing idle lives. They decide to go to Syria in the name of their religion to fight alongside other jihadists. During their tragicomic odyssey that takes them from Schaerbeek to Homs, as well as Istanbul, they discover the reasons that drove each of them to go off, and are forced to face a situation far less idyllic than they imagined.
A comedy above all, Djihad laughs at the clichés in all religions, lifting the silence on all manner of taboos. Truly cathartic, the play reveals onstage our deepest anxieties, our fear of others and what that leads to. The playwright Ismaël Saïdi is determined to break down the walls between communities, aspiring through laughter and tears to create a better way to live together.

"The play dares to laugh at everything, from dogmatism to victimization and everyday racism. Declared to be of public interest after the attacks in Paris and the dismantling of a cell in Verviers, Belgium, it has been performed almost daily in front of primary and secondary school students."
Audrey Tilve, Euronews, April 2, 2015

"Beyond its humor and the quality of the text, the success of Ismaël's play is undoubtedly because the Brussels resident knows his subject by heart, having grown up in Schaerbeek, a working-class neighborhood in a northern part of the city. An avid fan of Alexandre Dumas and Victor Hugo, he was well-raised by his parents and made the right choices."
Jacques Besnard, Slate, August 5, 2015

Opened at Espace Pôle Nord in Brussels, December 26, 2014. Since then, on tour in Belgium in schools and theaters through May 2016...
Directed by the playwright. Cast: Reda Chebchoubi, Ben Hamidou /James Deano and Shark Carrera.

Characters : 3 men -
Editions La Boîte à Pandore

REDA All right then!
Reda hands ben a sandwich. A beat.
REDA It's really quiet here.
BEN Yeah it feels good.
It's getting dark.
REDA I'm all excited, we're almost there.
BEN Yeah it seems too quiet for a war to be going on nearby.
ISMAËL I know, you can't hear a thing.
REDA That's because noise doesn't travel across borders.
ISMAËL Oh yeah? Do you know who's picking us up?
BEN The brigade commander's meeting us with our weapons then we're heading straight for the front.
REDA Without any training?
ISMAËL Aren't you supposed to be a champion at Call of Duty?
REDA Yeah sure, but I thought we'd have a bit of fun first in boot camp. You know, boot camp in the morning and pillow fights with our pals at night.
ISMAËL Pillow fights?
BEN Don't worry, you'll have plenty of pillows to fight with.
REDA Yeah, we've been waiting for this for so long. I don't think I'll be able to sleep tonight.
ISMAËL Neither will I.
Ismaël opens his bag and takes out a pencil and paper.
REDA What are you doing?
ISMAËL Nothing.
Ismaël turns away so Reda can't see. Ben goes over to him.
BEN What're you doing?
ISMAËL Nothing, I said!
Reda tries to look over Ismaël's shoulder.
REDA Hey! He's drawing!
ISMAËL Nah, just doodling.
REDA You're not doodling, you're drawing!
ISMAËL I'm doodling. When I can't sleep I doodle, it keeps my mind occupied.
Ben takes a quick peek.
BEN It's not doodling, it's drawing. And you know what our religion thinks of cartoonists.
ISMAËL All right already, I know.
Ismaël crumples up the piece of paper and throws it away. Reda picks it up and unfolds it.
REDA Hey, this is really good.
ISMAËL Enough already.
Ben grabs the paper.
BEN Ha! Yeah, this isn't bad.
A beat.
BEN Too bad cartoonists all end up in hell.