A life’s journey

Djenane Belkheïr, known as Bébel, fell in love with magic at the young age of 9. 

It’s an old friend he will never tire of seeing. 

The cards crossed his path in the 80’s, secret, fascinating, with an infinity of combinations. Thanks to this astonishing friendship with his pack of cards, the magic community awarded him the first prize for card magic at the AFAP congress in 1988. In 1995, he won the first prize of the Colombe d’or in Juan-les-Pins. 

His cards also took him to the Comédie-Française where, in one of the masked ball scenes, Bébel was an actor alongside Abdul Alafrez, under the Achille Tonic big top with Shirley and Dino, and then to television, from Nulle part ailleurs (Canal plus) to Vivement dimanche (France 2). He also lent his magic skills to Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard. In the cinema, he was Denis Lavant’s advisor for Les Amants du Pont Neuf

Bébel’s card tricks can be seen from cabaret tables to conference rooms all over the world. But performance alone is no longer enough for him, thanks to the effect that the power of magic can have. What he saw in the eyes of the spectators showed him that there was the possibility for a great journey. From then on, Bébel recorded his daily search for a new way to approach magic. 

And in 1999, thanks to the pen of Jacques Jouet (straight out of the Oulipo writers group), he performed his first play with cards, Le Théâtre simple, during an exceptional evening at the FRAC Normandie. 

Bébel continued his exploration in 2012, bringing his cards along in the fantastic adventure, Belkheïr ou une carte ne sauve vous la vie ne pour rien, a creation that Nathalie Papin wrote especially for him, produced by Roger Leroux with the Cirque-Théâtre d’Elbeuf in collaboration with René Gonzales of the Théâtre Vidy Lausanne, where the show was directed by Anne Artigau in January 2012. 

From this creation, Bébel and the director Anne Artigau joined forces to build the foundations of a practice where the magic effect is no longer the goal, but becomes a means, an expression, a language. They experienced the fruits of their work in Magie et Musique with the percussionist Jean Christophe Feldendler, at the Centre d’art et de création at Théàtre Marigny, and again in 2016 in Voyage à mains nues at the Théâtre aux Mains nues. 

Thierry Collet, interested in their research, invited them for a residency at the Magic WIP series of workshops in 2017/2018. And it was thanks to the invitation of Raphael Navarro and his company 14/20 to the Talents magie nouvelle 2018 festival that Jean-Michel Ribes discovered the first outline of their new show Djénane, that he is showcasing in the Spring of 2020. 

Source : Théâtre du Rond Point

Image: Pixabay / getphards3D

See Bébel at the Rond Point

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