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6655: Re: 6638: Pelin Tet (fwd)

From: ROODY BARTHELEMY <kreyolco@hotmail.com>

Pèlen Tèt?  You said Pèlen Tèt?

The phrase simply means "Mind Trap".  At least that's how I would translate 
it, - since its popularization unto everyday Creole conversations in and 
outside Haiti - although it also literally translates "trap for the head" 
(Pèlen=trap; Tèt=head/mind).

"Pèlen Tèt"  is also the title of a famous play written by Frankétienne 
circa 1978.  A real chef d' oeuvre of spiralist style as only Frankétienne 
knows how to write them, the play rapidly grew in popularity, and had 
already been play 33 times (or more) before Hubert DeRonceray, then Ministre 
des Affaires Sociales under Babydoc's regime, forbade its performance by 
issuing a decree characterizing the play as "subversive".

Since after Franketienne's 2000 tour in the U.S. and Canada, where he played 
himself the role of Polidor with Ricardo Lefevre (as Piram), the video 
version of Pèlen Tèt has been made available to the public, in addition to 
the audio and printed versions that existed before.
I have not seen yet (nor bought) a commercially printed copy of the play.
I have a cd  of Pèlen Tèt as a gift from a friend.
And I recently bought the video from a Miami-based Haitian record store for 
The last time I saw the play on stage was in April 2000, on Frankétienne's 
birthday, in Miami, FL. Nothing was missing from the freshness, the vibrancy 
and the actual à-propos that made it, in 1978, a revolutionizing play and a 

It should be easy to acquire a video or audio(cd) copy of the play from most 
minority book or record stores where Haitians are highly concentrated (i.e. 
Little Haiti, FL and/or Brooklyn/Queens, NY and/or Boston, MA and/or 
Montreal PQ, etc, not omitting Port-au-Prince Haiti, of course!)

Pèlen Tèt has no Vodou connotation that I know of.  Maybe, as a play, it has 
come to portray so tragically and accurately the actual (but displaced) 
reality of the Haitian dilemma, or maybe Frankétienne's unique genius, as a 
playwright, has put so much magic in Pèlen Tèt that it has to be related to 
Vodou.  In that case this would be quite a well-deserved compliment made to 
the author.

Roody Barthèlemy

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