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© Jorge Camarotti

M’appelle Mohamed Ali

Dieudonné Niangouna , Tatiana Zinga Botao ,
Philippe Racine

This political work by Dieudonné Niangouna links Africa to America through the fists of Muhamad Ali. Théâtre de La Sentinelle offers an oratorio for dignity to nine Afrodescendant performers.


At the edge of the stage, an African actor gets ready to play the great Muhammad Ali, American boxing icon and campaigner against racial segregation. In a stunning moment, their struggles intertwine. Hitting hard with the incisive words of the champion. Dazzling with the boxer’s legendary moves. Roaring the resistance of the black theatre actor in the West. And as the fighters box, they dance.

Driven by an actor’s passion, this political work by the Congolese Dieudonné Niangouna links Africa to America through the fists of Ali. The polyphonic piece, directed by Philippe Racine and Tatiana Zinga Botao, offers the recently founded Théâtre de La Sentinelle the opportunity to summon a chorus of voices to join in a shared fight. On an almost bare stage, there are not just one or two rolling with the punches, but eight magnificent actors and one actress—an allusion to the mother’s crucial presence. Nine performers of African descent affirm this oratorio for dignity. Respect. 


Produced by Théâtre de La Sentinelle + Théâtre de Quat’Sous  

Written by Dieudonné Niangouna

Directed by Philippe Racine + Tatiana Zinga Botao

Performed by Lyndz Dantiste + Fayolle Jean Jr. + Anglesh Major + Maxime Mompérousse + Widemir Normil + Martin-David Peters + Rodley Pitt + Franck Sylvestre + Tatiana Zinga Botao

Sound Design Elena Stoodley

Lighting Design Valérie Bourque

Costume Design and Make-up Ange Blédja Kouassi

Movement Advisor Claudia Chan Tak

Set Design Marie-Eve Fortier

Assistant Director Jasmine Kamruzzaman

Surtitles translation and preparation Elaine Normandeau

Surtitles operation Delphine Ricard

Co-produced by Festival TransAmériques

Co-presented by Théâtre de Quat’Sous

In World première

Premiere at Festival TransAmériques, Montreal, on June 7, 2022

Written by Jessie Mill + Lorrie Jean-Louis

Translated by David Dalgleish

Surtitles translated by Elaine Normandeau*

*Translator’s Note: In the original text, the word « nègre » is used repeatedly. For obvious reasons, I chose to translate it as « Negro » rather than « nigger ». I felt that writing « black » or « African-American » would betray the author’s statement about racism. On one occasion, the author uses the term « niak » which translates to « gook » in the surtitles, a derogatory term for someone from Southeast Asia, in this case Vietnamese. In our context, the word « métisse » could not be translated as Métis, which would refer to Aboriginal people in Canada. So I used « mestizo » to avoid confusion. 


© Matthias Horn

Dieudonné Niangouna (Paris+Brazzaville)

A leading playwright in contemporary African theatre, the Congolese Dieudonné Niangouna, along with his brother Cris, founded the company Les bruits de la rue during the country’s civil war in 1997. In his hometown of Brazzaville, he also created the Mantsina sur Scène festival. 


Full biography
© Jorge Camarotti

Tatiana Zinga Botao (Montreal)

Created in 2017 in Montreal, Théâtre de La Sentinelle seeks to diversify the cultural face of Quebec. Founded by Tatiana Zinga Botao and Lyndz Dantiste, with Philippe Racine joining them as artistic director, the company initiates projects that offer leading roles to actors from racialized and indigenous communities. The members of the Sentinelle, all three of whom studied at the Conservatoire d’art dramatique in Montreal, wish to stimulate discussion about issues of representation and develop a new generation of diverse talent.

Full biography
© Justin Laramee

Philippe Racine (Montreal)

Philippe Racine’s remarkable versatility has led to his collaborating with a range of companies, including Théâtre Motus, Théâtre Le Clou, and L’eau du bain. He appeared in the French and Creole version of Macbeth directed by Stacey Christodoulou (The Other Theater, 2010 and 2016) and will be in the cast of Lysis at Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, which has been pushed back to 2024. 

Full biography