Les commissaires anonymes

The disoriented cabaret

The disoriented cabaret

Dutch Art Institute

Leaving the lecture component behind, “The Disoriented Cabaret” written by Mathilde Sauzet and composed by Gabriel Mattei took a leap into full-fledged performance territory. This cabaret-opera comprised of singing, spoken and instrumental parts is “a fiction inspired by many articles that have been published between November 2015 and March 2016 and particularly ‘Molenbeek is not a ghetto’ written by Alexandre Laumonier, published in the newspaper Le Monde the 27th of November 2015”. Historically, cabaret has always acted as a form of social critique ; costumed and dressed, its accessibility and humor endows it with a remarkable capacity to identify and crack open the most formidable power structures, without ever feeling too serious.

The script, printed out in a newspaper-like format, was handed out to audience members before the show began. When fully opened, the back of the paper reads in large-print.


The cast is made up of six players, including the audience as The generic crowd, and the stage director, Mathilde. Introducing her role in the beginning she says, “Hello, I’m the director. I’m not part of the show, but somehow a bit because I wrote it. Nevertheless, I want to speak a bit about the context. So the performance happens in the municipality of Molenbeek, in Brussels, where I live, a place where radical Islamist communities are established as well…” Les commissaires anonymes ask, “Is art our ghetto ?” They use the situation of Molenbeek to ask “if arts really interacts with reality ? Is art a means of inclusion or exclusion ?”

Bringing herself into the performance to direct the other players, Mathilde calls attention to the rehearsal mode of this performance : it is fixed in the moment of becoming, never crystallizing into a so-called final performance. This aspect of it critically reflects the political situation to which it refers (in Molenbeek, among other places), itself an unfolding chain of events and process of “systematic disorientation”.
Mathilde maintains that “this play can be autonomous as an art work”. Though her main practice is curating, she did this work “as an embodiment of an artistic exchange between various languages. As the stage director, I play also the curator, trying to find a form of encounter for these four artists… the script is the support of reflection and action.”