FIAF’s Young Audience Program invites school groups to a special performance of Stéphanie St. Clair, Queen of Harlem, followed by a Q&A with the artists, Isabelle Kancel and Nicole Dogué.
Stéphanie St. Clair, Queen of Harlem profiles the iconic woman who was a major force behind the 1920s Harlem underground and the Black activism movement. Inspired by the true story of legendary crime boss Stéphanie St. Clair (1897-1969), this performance stars Guadeloupe-based actress Isabelle Kancel (Creditors). Told from the perspective of 80-year-old St. Clair, it recounts how she rose from poverty in the West Indies and overcame extreme sexism and racism. St. Clair—known throughout New York City as “Queenie”—confronted both the white mafia and corrupt police force to become the boss of Harlem’s underground lottery.
Her occupation as a racketeer and gang leader didn’t bar St. Clair from living in one of Harlem’s most prestigious buildings, where her neighbors were fellow luminaries such as W.E.B. Du Bois and future Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall. She continued to work for civil and economic rights for African Americans long after ceasing her illegal activities.
Approx. 90min, no intermission
French and Creole with English supertitles
Isabelle Kancel trained at the Théâtre Ecole de Montreuil, the Cours Balachova in Paris in the in the early 80s, as well as the Espace Acteur, Cours Blanche Salant, and Le Petit Théâtre de Bouvard.
Kancel is a multi-faceted actor who has appeared in theater, film and television. On stage, her work includes Creditors (Strindberg), The Cherry Orchard (Chekov, staged by Jean-René Lemoine), Molière’s Le Misanthrope, Ici ou ailleurs (Robert Pinget, staged by Serge Maronèse at the Théâtre Trévise), La Voyageuse (based on the life and work of Maryse Condé), among others. In film and television, she has appeared in Platane (Canal +), Baie des flamboyants (RFO), and Une femme d’honneur (TF1.) Kancel continues to work as a stage director and scriptwriter.
Born in Martinique and living in Paris, Nicole Dogué trained at the ENSATT (École Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Techniques du Théâtre) on rue Blanche and at the Conservatoire National Supérieur d’Art Dramatique, where she was taught by renowned theater director Claude Régy.
On the stage, Nicole Dogué has worked with Jean-Paul Wenzel (Passion, Mado), Claude Régy (Intérieur de Maeterlinck and Wallace Stevens’ Trois voyageurs regardent un lever de soleil), Maka Kotto (Julius Amédée Laou’s Ne m’appelez plus jamais nègre), Laurence Février (Marivaux’s La Dispute) and Etienne Pommeret (Karin Serre’s Katak, Buchner’s Léonce et Lena, Kartu Cerre’s Lunik). In 2015 she starred in Suzanne Césaire, Fontaine Solaire directed by Hassane Kouyaté at the Atrium scène Nationale de Martinique.
On the film side, she has appeared in works by Christian Lara, René Allio and Julius Amédée Laou, and in short films by Elsie Haas and Hammou Graïa. She has appeared in a number of feature films, including Claire Denis’ Les salauds et 35 rhums (2009), and in Raoul Peck’s Moloch Tropical (2009).