Solitude la Marronne, a musical play by Guadeloupean dramatist Paskal Vallot, is based on La Mulâtresse Solitude, the novel by André and Simone Schwarz-Bart, and on his own historical research. The musical, which re-opened on May 2nd (It had an earlier run in January), will mark the closure of the Centre des Arts for an extensive renovation process. “For its last show before closing, the Centre des Arts could not have hoped for better than to present a home-grown spectacle,” said Claude Kiavué, the director of the thirty-year-old Pointe-à-Pitre cultural institution, which is not expected to reopen until 2011. Its thirty long years of dedication to the culture of Martinique, said Jacques Bangou, mayor of Pointe-à-Pitre, deserved to end on a very high note: “It is a high quality show, a Guadeloupean musical comedy that should be as successful as Rue Zabym, Vallot’s earlier piece. »
The subject of the musical play, known popularly as la mulâtresse Solitude (Solitude, the mulatto woman), is one of the most emblematic characters in Guadeloupean culture, a symbol of Black resistance to Napoleonic forces seeking to restore slavery in Martinique in 1802. Born in 1772, the daughter of a slave, she experienced the abolition of slavery in 1794, in the wake of the French Revolution, and joined a maroon community. When Napoleon sought to re-establish slavery on the island (his wife, ironically, was a white creole—a bekée—from Martinique), Solitude joined Louis Delgrès in his struggle for freedom. Captured after the battle of May 8, 1802 (the anniversary of which will be marked tomorrow), she was sentenced to death by hanging, but her sentence was delayed until November 19, the day after she gave birth to a child. There is a memorial in her honor—in which she is shown as a pregnant heroine—at the Carrefour de la Croix, on the Boulevard des Héros at Abymes in Guadeloupe.