The Poetics of Confrontation

Fadhel Jaibi and the State in Pre-Revolutionary Tunesia


  • Vicki Ann Cremona University of Malta



Fadhel Jaibi, Amnesia, Tunesian Theatre, Political Theatre, Censorship, Confrontation, Tactics


This paper analyses the poetics of confrontation used by theatre director Fadhel Jaibi,
particularly through his performance Yahia-Yaïh-Amnesia. It uses Michel DeCerteau's concept
of 'tactic' and 'strategy' from his book, The Practice of Everyday Life, as a framework for analysis
in order to show how Jaibi used performance as his tactic to oppose the regime's strategies in
pre-revolutionary Tunisia, creating thereby a poetics of confrontation to challenge both the
regime and the people who were subjected to it. It shows how Jaibi constructed the elements
underpinning his poetic sof performance by fusing the texts produced by Jalila Baccar with the
physical work of the actors, playing particularly on rhythms of speech, action and sound. It
explains how Jaibi integrated these elements into a politics of confrontation which included
the audience. It discusses how, through his artistic work, Jaibi obliged the audience to confront
the prevailing repressive reality as well as society's acceptance of the existing political situation
and social norms. His poetics of confrontation targeted a change in perception, which rejected
the limits imposed by the regime and coercive social forces in favour of democracy,
anticipating and accompanying the social upheaval provoked by the Tunisian revolution in

Author Biography

Vicki Ann Cremona, University of Malta

Vicki Ann Cremona is Chair of the School of Performing Arts at the University of Malta. She
was appointed Ambassador of Malta to France between 2005-2009, and to Tunisia between
2009-2013. She has published several articles internationally, mainly about Carnival, Maltese
Theatre, and Commedia dell' Arte. She has also co-edited and co-authored various books
including Theatrical Events: Borders, Dynamics, Frames (2004), and Playing Culture: Conventions
and Extensions of Performance (2014). She has contributed towards founding Icarus Publishing
Enterprise, a joint initiative between Theatre Arts Researching the Foundations (TARF -
Malta), Odin Teatret (Denmark) and The Grotowski Institute(Poland).




How to Cite

Cremona, V. A. (2018). The Poetics of Confrontation: Fadhel Jaibi and the State in Pre-Revolutionary Tunesia. Nordic Theatre Studies, 26(1), 68–79.



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