L’a / Rachid Ouramdane, Loin

Review in Issue 21-3 | Autumn 2009

Loin... (Far...) investigates the notion of being a ‘foreigner’, violence, and the link between ourselves and our past. Rachid Ouramdane has been devising work since 1996 and is recognised as one of France’s most innovative practitioners, so this piece came with high expectations.

Based on Ouramdane’s travels in Vietnam and Cambodia it incorporates fragments of his combatant father’s Vietnam War journals, interviews and his own poetry. Through his use of dance, documentary footage and recorded sound he questions his Franco-Algerian identity and challenges the audience to look at their own roots.

When the lights came up shiny black revolving megaphones emerged from what appeared to be pools of blood. A tangle of indigo wires, connected to a microphone and foot pedals, snaked around the stage. The screen at the back flashed images of faces and abstract film. A striking setting, but it was a shame that the performance could not match this initial impression.

The subtitles to accompany the opening interview were too fast and detracted from Ouramdane’s presence and the ghostly apparition on the video screen. There was simply too much going on – an affliction that continued throughout.

Ouramdane’s movement was beautifully precise but at times its repetitions verged on the monotonous. The manic choreographic portrayal of violence began to look vaguely humorous, and lost much of the intended impact.

There were some engaging moments. The use of an interview with his mother gave poignancy to the piece as a personal struggle for the performer. The pedal-operated sound was particularly inventive. But I was disappointed that such a potentially innovative project failure to realise its potential.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. May 2009

This article in the magazine

Issue 21-3
p. 33