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Actors during a rehearsal for Kap O Mond

Sociology student’s play tackles issues of colonialism and identity in Haiti

Kap O Mond is co-written by Carlo Charles, PhD candidate in the department of sociology, and his colleague Alice Carré. It premiered in January at the Théâtre l'Echangeur Bagnolet in Paris, France

Jan 27, 2022

 

Kap O Mond, a play co-written by Carlo Charles, PhD candidate in the department of sociology, and his colleague Alice Carré, premiered this month at the Théâtre l'Echangeur Bagnolet in Paris, France.

For Charles, who has been writing plays since he was a teenager while living in Haiti, it was a special moment.

“My very first sketch was called T-Zo and addressed how poverty shapes a survival culture in my hometown, Cap-Haitien. My friends and I performed it in my local church, and it was a surprise success,” says Charles. “People referred to me as "T-Zo" after the play and others invited us to stage the sketch at their events.”

In the years that followed, Charles continued to write plays, going on to create his own theatre company, ANGEPECH, at just 14 years old. Through the company he wrote plays for 25 amateur actors, eventually directing a feature film Rescapé de la Vengeance.

“Soon after the premiere of the film, I left Haiti to attend university in Venezuela. For over a decade, I was distanced from playwriting as I adapted to my immigrant life as a young independent adult in South America, then Europe and North America.”

 

 

Carlo Charles, playwright and PhD candidate in the department of sociology

 

Kap O Mond signals Charles’ return to playwriting. It tells the story of Mathieu, a young man disenchanted by his life in suburban France. Mathieu’s life changes when he meets Kendy, a young Haitian who is studying in France. At the core of the play is the story of two young adults, two contemporary faces of France and Haiti, in a perpetual game of echoes with the colonial past of France.

These are issues Charles has seen reflected in his upbringing.

“In 2020, I went back to Haiti to continue my studies online and to work on my dissertation. After a few months there, I realized how important Western humanitarianism, including French, Canadian, and U.S. humanitarian missions, is in the country,” he says. “I also started seeing the effect that Western humanitarianism has on Haiti's economy, politics, and on everyday decisions that Haitians make in their lives.” 

Charles also credits his background in Sociology with helping him understand how people’s lives are shaped by the society in which they live. This understanding has been critical for his playwriting process.

“This sociological understanding of life was important to write the storyline and the characters for the play. Our two characters are fundamentally shaped by the Haitian and French contexts in which they were respectively born and raised. These contexts have affected the decisions they have made in their lives as young adults who are navigating family aspirations, romantic relationships, and professional careers in both Haiti and France.”