"I am simply going to speak to you about my role as sign maker of the world, lest everything be spoiled by controversy. Let me say right from the beginning that my words will not be sacrosanct truths [...] I consider truth to be circumstantial, temporal and polycentric. Thus like beauty, which takes its brilliance from the sun or the moon."
- Sony Labou Tansi


Creation performed on October 2015 at the Les Francophonies/Limoges festival

A musical score made up of sounds and words.

An empty stage, one actor, a piano and an accordion. A musical score of sounds and words: those of Sony Labou Tansi. His manuscripts, unpublished until this performance, become flesh and voice of a composition incorporating writing and improvisation, breath and strings, theater and music.

More than interpretation or representation, theater is an encounter. A desire and a way of seeing that is brave enough to reach out to the other and allow itself to be moved.

Sony Labou Tansi writing reaches out to the other, express his breath and existence to the world. His texts ooze, pouring forth the dazzling weariness of his words and body, they gesticulate tirelessly on the page while stretching out their arms to us. The flame of his tongue overflows from the flat surface of the scribbled page to dance in our ears and strike us with life. It is a living, moving and roaring substance. A “monstrous hubbub”; an electric forest of signs and sounds in which I have chosen to create my music and let it resonate.

His sketches, drafts, mistakes, and words help set a tone and a rhythm for this solitary composition of voice, guts, piano and accordion.


You tore your throat
Into a thousand pieces
Through a word
Still smoldering


Texts by: Sony Labou Tansi
Concept, musical composition and performance: Marcus Borja
Dramaturgy support: Julie Peghini
Literary council: Nicolas Martin-Granel
Lights and video creation: Gabriele Smiriglia
Production: Les Francophonies en Limousin

In the press

The Song of Signs plays with borders of all kinds: between cultures, but also between the written and the spoken word. Between thought and Feeling. One can only hope that this beautiful porosity will continue beyond Limoges. It is so rare.

Anaïs HeluinLe Point Afrique

The aim of the Song of Signs is not to strive towards consensus but is a broad appropriation of the works of Sony Labou Tansi on the stage. Marcus Borja interprets the intimate and carnal aspect of language with the attention it deserves; his version of Sony is full of emotion and sensitivity.

Amélie ThérésineAfricultures