Calling me Mohamed Ali: Tutone Nyong'o's pen strikes at TNM

Room He calls me Muhammad Ali Takes place on Friday at the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde (DNM). A monologue written by Congolese writer Dieudonné Niangouna adapted into a song for eight performers increases the scope of its cutting message tenfold in the different battles black people wage between the ring and the stage.

The monologue written by Dieudonné Niangouna in 2014 was adapted for an actor, Burkinabe actor Étienne Minoungou, from whom the main character is strongly inspired. In the stage adaptation signed by Philippe Racine and Tatiana Zinga Potao from the Théâtre de la Sentinelle, he is augmented by eight Afro-descendant actors.

So we see Vlad Alexis, Lyndz Dantiste, Fayolle Jean Jr., Rodley Pitt, Franck Sylvestre, Widemir Normil, Martin-David Peters and Philippe Racine on stage. Actress Omi Dembele plays the mother who brings all the artists together. He also works as a technical director on stage.

Nine performers of the play “M'appelle Mohammed Ali” in 2022 (the English major, far left, was replaced by Philippe Racine at TNM, while Tatiana Zinga Potao was replaced by Omi Dembele)

Photo: Theater du Nouveau Monde / Yanick Macdonald

Today, in Quebec, we decided to do a song to show that there are many Etienne and Dieudonne. It is not true that there is only one black actor, there are many. There, we have 8 people, but we could have been 35, sums up Tatiana Zinga Potao. We wanted to show that apart from being black and actors, we are very different.

He calls me Muhammad Ali First presented at the TransAmérique festival in 2022, then at the Théâtre de Quat'Sous, where Lorraine Pintal, artistic and general director of TNM, fell in love with the play. He invited Philippe Racine and Tatiana Zinga Potao to come and present at his company.

A serious piece in content and form

The screen opens as Etienne prepares to play the famous boxer and black rights activist Muhammad Ali in the theater. The social struggles of a three-time world champion intersect with the social struggles of a black actor trying to shine in a predominantly white world.

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