1988, 1989

1988 - Negro Slavery

Olympe de Gouges / Emmanuel genvrin

First performed on November 4th 1988 at Cinérama, La Possession. Playwright : Olympe de Gouges - Adaptation : Emmanuel Genvrin Music : Jean-Luc Trulès - Stage design : Hervé Mazelin

"Searching for plays for Reunion, I had found at the Arsenal Library in Paris this play by Olympe de Gouges; the style was old-fashioned but the subject matter had been scandalous just before the French Revolution. The playwright had been one of the first French feminists; author of "Droits de la Femme" (Declaration of the Rights of Women) and the actors of "Français" (French) (apart from Talma) had refused to play slaves. Olympe de Gouges wanted Blacks to be able to speak Creole and play their islands’ music on stage. » [E.Genvrin]

The play

Zamore and Mirza, runaway slaves, cross paths with two young Frenchmen who take action to save their lives.


PDF - 832 kb
lire le programme

Vidéo Esclavage des Nègres - Cinérama de La Possession 1988, Limoges 1989 - durée 6 mn -


First performed on November 4th 1988 at Cinérama, La Possession and performed alternately with "Étuves". Performed again in 1989 at Cinérama, La Plaine des Cafres, Le Tampon, Saint-Benoît, Port Louis theatre (Mauritius), Mayotte, at Art Mafate, at the Grand Marché in Saint-Denis. 70 performances, of which 39 for schools, total audience 15000. It was translated into English by Townsend Brewster and staged by Charles Turner at the Hunter College Theatre of New York on April 18th 1989. In February 2008 the University annex of Le Tampon inaugurated an Olympe de Gouges amphitheatre, and on this occasion a group of students performed the adapted play with the help and costumes of Vollard theatre. In 2008 video excerpts of "Esclavage" were transferred to Gabriella Azoulay at the University of Berkeley in California for a documentary about Olympe de Gouges.

what the press think

"A new and nice surprise for local theatre-goers, the classical aspect of the play allows for the possibility of admiring at leisure the refined costumes and surroundings. As for the actors, they manage to give a colourful and varied dimension, delightful and funny to a text that is turgid and full of clichés. The ease of gesture, tone and mimics is a real pleasure".

Marine [JIR]

’Negro Slavery’ at the Port Louis theatre on Thursday evening, a performance in a traditional style to which the actors manage to bring the necessary amount of life".

Adeline Forget [Week-end, Maurice]

press articles

PDF - 771.6 kb
JIR (Marine), nov 1988 (l’Esclavage des Negres)


  • Mirza : Nicole Imiza
  • Zamore : Jean-Luc Trulès
  • Olivier : Pierre-Louis Rivière
  • Valère : Emmanuel Cambou
  • Sophie : Sylvie Cadet, Geneviève Darroux, Sophie Boulay
  • M. de Saint-Frémont : Dominique Carrère
  • Mme de Saint-Frémont : Rachel Pothin
  • Azor : Arnaud Dormeuil
  • Betsi : Karine Techer, Sylvie Annette, Marilyne Jeanson
  • Coraline : Délixia Perrine
  • Judge : Laurent Segelstein
  • Slave hunter : Emmanuel Genvrin
  • Soldiers : Serge Dafreville, Nicole Leichnig
©Théâtre Vollard 1980-2007 | Mentions légales