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      August 1968 in Oran (Algeria): foundation of the Théâtre de la Mer (Sea Theatre) and publication of the Charter that defined its nature, method and goals.
     At the time, in Algeria, all professional theaters were under the ideological and financial supervision of the State. To produce without it, the only possibility was to create a company supposedly "amateur". This was the case. The company is named :

THEATRE DE LA MER :
compagnie de recherche et de réalisations théâtrales expérimentales
(THEATER OF THE SEA :
research and experimental theater company).

   Noting that professionals without exception choose the State theater, for economic reasons, I hired young enthusiasts of this art, and I have given them training under the premise : learning for realizing.
    The troupe was self-managed administratively.
    The plays were written by the method of collective creation. In fact, given the lack of staff training, the writing was led by Kadour Naimi. He had a professional training and took into account comments and suggestions of the companions, and even people who were invited to attend rehearsals.
    It was a theater production inspired firstly by Algerian realities and, secondly, by what it produced best in the world.
  The topics, contents and forms should have in the same time a popular aspect and an innovative and experimental research.
   The experimental aspect lay in the synthesis of various inputs: 1) Algerian tradition of the storyteller (meddah), 2) Chinese traditional  theater, Japanese, Balinese and Vietnamese guerrilla theater in the liberated areas of the country, 3) traditional African theater of tje  "Griots", 4) Western theater of ancient Greek, European classical English and French, Contemporary Living theater of new York.
   The recipients were citizens who were excluded or disliked the theater proposed by State troops (1): factories and rural workers, pupils and students, intellectuals.
    Places performances : following the "guerrilla theater" method specified in the Charter , the company went to the public it was possible to meet : in the factories, farms, schools, universities, vocational training centers, etc. (2).
    Set design : the shows were presented in a circular space inspired by the "halga" (حلق, circle). This was the traditional way of troubadours ("meddah" in Algerian) to present their show on the public square, surrounded by spectators, in direct contact with them, and offering them the opportunity to intervene during the show.
    Forms of expression : works are conceived as a total theater ; they include text, song and dance.
    Ticket price : based on the possibilities of the unemployed, the landless peasant, the worker and student.
    Economic resources : self-fiinancement solely by inputs from the audience. Their modesty was offset by : 1) a community life of the members of the company, satisfying the basic necessities of life ; 2) equal pay for all ; 3) an ingenious creativity to avoid unnecessary spending on costumes, sets and lighting.
    In the second and final phase of its existence, the troupe has been funded by the Ministry of Labour.
    The shows of the Sea Theatre has been a success, both with the public and critic.
    Since Oran, representations were widened on almost all the national territory.
    Until the company was put unable to work and produce independently ethically.
    The experiment lasted about three years, from August 1968 to 1972, but it marked its time (3).

_____
(1) However, the productions of the Algerian playwright Abderrahmane Ould called Khaki, although in the State Theater of Oran, managed to propose unconventional works, appreciated by the audience.

(2) With one significant exception : when the director of the National State Theatre of Algiers, Mustapha Kateb, asked unexpectedly at Theater of the Sea to present its first show, My body, your voice and thoughts, in his establishment, he also agreed that all spectators were sitting on the stage, in a circle around the actors, leaving in the dark and unused the room chairs.

(3) "An extraordinary team led by Kaddour Naimi, in Europe today, the Theatre of the sea that deeply marked his time (late 1960s-early 1970s), through its research and its capacity to use in its staging, new techniques including the use of bodily expression and gesture. Original text : « une extraordinaire équipe dirigée par Kaddour Naimi, aujourd’hui en Europe, le Théâtre de la mer qui marqua profondément son époque (fin des années 1960-début des années 1970), grâce à ses recherches et à sa capacité d’utiliser, dans sa mise en scène, de nouvelles techniques faisant notamment appel à l’expression corporelle et gestuelle.» Ahmed Cheniki
.


The company's members at the performances
in the National Theater of Algiers (1969).

Picture published by the daily
El Moudjahid
, 1969 January 28.


The Company's Newsletter No. 1
The Life of the Theater of the Sea.
Director : K. Naimi.


   


A detailed analysis of the theater plays is available in the book (French Version) here