A refined mix of biographical facts and accessible philosophizing about relationships, sex, politics and society.
Writer, actor, singer-songwriter and philosopher Stefaan Van Brabandt brings Sartre & de Beauvoir into the limelight. An accessible reflection on two greats of philosophy whose ideas and lives are intertwined for ever. ‘Sartre and de Beauvoir’ distils the two role models of existentialist philosophy to their essence.
A tight and funny play that unerringly rips apart the patriarchal rhetorical conjuring tricks of our politicians and other media personalities
‘Uproar’ manages to capture the debate over feminism in lightning fast and quick-witted dialogues. It is an incisive story with contemporary relevance that feels both absurd and almost alienating at the same time.
‘Breakers’ is a compact, visually oriented novella with a dash of magic realism.
Five lifeless bodies wash up on a beach close to a couple’s home, followed not long afterwards by the body of a child. From that moment on, everything between the man and woman who live in the beachside house will be different. Their safe world belongs to the past, now that the refugee issue has disturbed their harmonious world. Torn between guilt and impotence, the man and woman drift further and further apart until their relationship hits the rocks.
'Swans' is a musical and atmospheric tale about those mysterious but oh so beautiful animals: swans.
CC De Adelberg
‘Swans’ is a moving and imaginative story about daring to dream big and taking the plunge to go look for adventure. And of course it’s a show full of swans. The play is performed by a single actor or actress with musical accompaniment from a string section made up of nine swans.
A glimpse into the backrooms of diplomacy, the role of women and the subtly shifting power relations.
In Willem de Wolf’s theatre text ‘April’, the American ambassador April Glaspie, Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz and a news anchor revisit events. The subject of this fictitious conversation is that other, historical conversation in the summer of 1990 that nobody wants to talk about.
Complex, intriguing, clever, witty, poignant, musical and bitter. In a word, highly recommended.
’We take it from here’ starts off as a list of things that the actors and characters feel guilty about, ranging from childhood memories, like stealing a Barbie doll, to existential questions about their relationships, the ways in which they have wronged the people they love, or their complicity in current and universal problems such as the refugee crisis.
Nuyens and De Wit explain in exquisite detail that the climate crisis is primarily a crisis of responsibility at this moment in time.
In ‘The Shell Trial’ all the different voices can be heard in five monologues: the oil giant’s CEO, the worried citizen, a distraught consumer, the government and the future generations that recently organised a worldwide protest because not enough is being done to tackle the climate crisis.
Head-on’ is a tragic story with comedic touches that allow playwright Jan Sobrie to keep things light-hearted as the conflict between the two sisters intensifies and culminates in a literal and figurative head-on collision with serious consequences.
Unconventional music theatre that boldly opts for simplicity and humour to make a powerful and incisive statement about living with hope in a time of escalating despair.
The lives of the two main characters in ‘The Channel’ unexpectedly become intertwined. On one side of the Channel, on Calais beach, a refugee is getting ready to make the crossing in search of a new beginning. Across the water, on the chalk cliffs of Beachy Head, trans woman Margaret is about to hurl herself into the sea to end it all. Eventually, their paths cross and life takes an unpredictable turn. This compelling music theatre libretto puts a face to the marginalisation of ‘the other’.
Salam impresses with this abundance of ideas, artistry and uncomfortable truths. Luckily, the surprisingly heart-warming conclusion calms the overwhelmed spirit down again.
At a time of worldwide religious conflict between Islam, Judaism and Christendom, ‘Salam’ takes you back to the beginning: the story of Abraham and his sons Isaac and Ishmael. ‘Salam’ is a theatre text about a father who struggles to show love and two brothers who are growing further and further apart because they both want to be recognised as heir. El Azzouzi opts to represent this clash as a humorous and human story about love, jealousy and hurt.
The sharpest political theatre I’ve seen for a long time.
In the theatre monologue ‘MARX’, the elderly philosopher appears onstage once more. What has he been proven right about, and which things did he get wrong? The result is sparkling theatre that is thought-provoking but also funny. A combative and critical defence of freedom and human dignity.
An intelligent play about the complexity of identity
2015. What at first looks like an oil slick close to the cliffs turns out to be a wetsuit. Bones are sticking out of the flippers. Even with the help of the police, nobody is able to identify the corpse. Kicking off like a Scandinavian crime story, ‘The Wetsuitman’ leads from pastiche to a social drama in the ‘jungle’, the refugee camp in Calais.
A view of the world that is as warm-hearted as it is horrifying
A pregnant woman fantasizes about the future life of her unborn daughter. One thing is certain: that future will be far from unproblematic. The abstract and poetic ‘Deerskin’ invites us to think about a future in which humans are no longer at the controls.
An elderly acting couple take stock of their love for each other and for their profession. All their productions are flops except one: a popular repertory classic about a pair of swearing and hard-drinking intellectuals that brings in money and audiences.
An impeccably structured, typical 'De Graef narrative' that performs a fine balancing act between philosophy, social critique and pure romanticism.
Rudy is a philosopher, just like you and me. A man with questions and concerns. Endearing, charming and confrontational. ‘The point is that we’re all trapped but we’re not aware of it,’ he says. Like a mix between a stand-up comedian, a psychiatrist and a philosopher Rudy confronts us with the painful truth. He takes stock of a world that is not doing very well.
Wildekids' biggest trump card is its playful, multi-layered text.
A bitter-sweet tale of poverty and its presence in the world of two inseparable children. Both heart-warming and heart-rending, with playful humour and plenty of imagination, two fierce firecrackers find each other in a priceless friendship.
The editorial board of Cult Weekly magazine has called a crisis meeting. The image of a black woman on the cover of their latest issue has unleashed a social media storm. How sincere or how arrogant and patronising is their social engagement really?
After this performance, you will feel somewhat revitalized. It is magic.
‘Unisono’ is an intimate monologue, performed by one actor in a minimalist setting. Whereas ‘Unisono’ tries to find words for loneliness, ‘Platina’ is an equally spare text about two people facing a final goodbye.It is the silence that speaks loudest – even if the woman ultimately breaks it with a veritable deluge of words that seek to express her love and pain.
Vielen is both a masterful writer and a born story-teller.
‘The Arrival of the Titanic’ is an intelligent and astute theatre monologue. On the one hand there is a ship that sinks – an event with clear echoes of the Costa Concordia disaster in 2012. On the other hand, the brief snippets that fit together like a mosaic are about a more metaphorical catastrophe.
In ‘The Tsar’s Shears’ three people live together in one room, secluded from the outside world. Until one day the tsar emerges from the tube and disrupts the order of their micro society. All of a sudden the rules don’t seem that logical anymore.
An astute monument to the dislocation of modern man. A light-hearted yet meaningful portrait of an inscrutable reality.
The play wants to explore how some of the most famous exiles of the 20th century defended, revised or abandoned their European traditions in their new ‘paradise’. And whether we, in this day and age, could or would mount a similar defence. An exploration of ‘home’ and the idea of feeling displaced in your own home country.
Top-level theatre that explodes your conscience like an expanding bullet.
This monologue is neither an indictment nor a celebration, but instead explores the complex tragedy of international peace operations. It is a tale of idealism and incompetence, of noble objectives and dirty business.
In a candid conversation, the two characters explore how this new situation can bring them together and how this illness either challenges or strengthens their friendship. Tragicomic, vulnerable and moving – but above all genuine.
This is theatre that derives its reason from social maladies while at the same time providing something for the actors to get stuck in and viewing pleasure for the audience.
The police investigation into the Nijvel gang has become a major debacle in Belgian legal history. In the early eighties, a number of savage raids were carried out on supermarkets, with the perpetrators using brute force and shooting several accidental passers-by in cold blood. Thirty years on, the investigation has reached a dead end. Michael Bijnens, known for his research-based plays, spoke to investigators involved in the case and wrote a fascinating piece of theatre.
As horny as the pope – a new classic tragedy has been written.
From their rapid ascent to the top of the Vatican to their downfall: no barbarity or form of nepotism is too cruel for the Borgias. In a strange way the characters become heroic, but on the other hand we must also judge their actions. This paradox gives meaning to the whole trilogy: we love the monster just as we hate it.
OPN. is a ritualistic performance, a composition in words, pure and simple.
Moral boundaries are challenged and openly crossed, provoking the audience to agree or disagree with the statements that are being made. Opinions become questions intended to gauge the atmosphere. Strong convictions give way to insecurities, leading the performers to go along with personal attacks and extreme opinions.
The striptease of democracy. […] This isn’t even a tragedy any more. This is how things work. Europe.
Following years of exponential growth, the economy collapsed in 2008. The stock market crash marked the beginning of a worldwide financial crisis that kept Europe solidly in its grasp. In his trilogy ‘Greed’, ‘Fear’, ‘Hope’, Stijn Devillé fictionalised the events to create a modern, political and economic thriller.
Narrative theatre of the most cunning kind. A cracker without frills, but with sequins.
For nearly three years, Henry Morton Stanley chopped a path through a hot and impenetrable African jungle in search of the mouth of the river Congo – without knowing where he was or how much longer it would take. While letting go of the historical figure of Stanley, De Graef retains man’s journey of discovery through the history of our psychology and human-ness.
A blend of incisive, sensory perception and condensed poetic speech’
With ‘Antigone in Molenbeek’ Stefan Hertmans has adapted Sophocles’ tragedy to our contemporary, multicultural society. Antigone is now known as Nouria, a brave young law student from the Brussels district of Molenbeek. Just as in the classic, she wants to pay her last respects to her deceased brother – in Hertmans’ version a suicide bomber – and bury his remains. But the authorities decide otherwise.
Four guards are standing in front of a high wall. They are waiting and keeping watch, without knowing why or for how long. Behind the wall is a state secret and everything is suspect, everyone a potential enemy of the state. But everything changes when one of them suddenly disappears and disrupts their unshakable rhythm.
Everything fits together perfectly in this smart study of life
It is the ambition of many plays to get to the essence of human existence. The theatre group BOG take this task very seriously in their self-titled play. What is possible within the short frame of existence, between birth and death?
A woman and a man are standing side by side onstage; in the background the remnants of their living room, cold and bare. Side by side, but not together, they stare into space. Is there not a spark of love or passion left?
A remarkable piece of theatre – playful, surprisingly and painfully funny as well as moving
1 September 2004. Chechen rebels force their way into a Russian school and hold more than a thousand pupils, teachers and parents hostage inside the gymnasium. Three days later the siege comes to a horrendous conclusion. Two surviving school children try to describe the siege in as much detail as possible to get to grips with the terrible events. But before long, their imagination takes over.
Rebekka has not written a joke book but an ethical argument that will blow your socks off.
‘That’s simply how it works.’ It’s a statement we all get to hear from time to time, or perhaps use ourselves. But it doesn’t satisfy Rebekka de Wit in her ‘Presentation of an Uncensored Joke Book’. An optimistic activist, De Wit expresses the need for a real conversation and an investigation of morality, in order to find a new narrative, or counter-narrative.
Boon intertwines big stories with very personal events.
What can pictures tell us about the lives and motives of those depicted in them, or indeed of the person pressing the shutter? Can we even reconstruct a person’s life? 'Comes On / Goes Off’ is a quest to discover the outer limits of stories and storytelling.
A play about the impact of war on individuals and their environment. In this polyphonic monologue, the author allows us to hear the voices of a range of people affected by recent and less recent conflicts.
Theatre is rarely as disarming, as sophisticated, as urgent as this.
Jury report Theaterfestival
Krenz symbolises a life lived as a runner-up, waiting on the sidelines for one’s moment – a moment that never lives up to long-held expectations. Willem de Wolf links Krenz’s story to his own family history. In this smart, sharp and funny text, De Wolf dissects the frustrations and loneliness that lie behind ambition.
Virtuoso writing and an intellectually challenging reflection of our living environment
In this polyphonic theatre novella, there are fantasises, speculations and brainstorms in antitheses about the future of Europe. Seven anonymous Europeans tell their stories. Lanoye describes a future Europe that is dominated by dissatisfaction and the longing for a better version of itself.
‘Friday’ introduced characters who became classics.
Claus does not shy away from brutality in this piece. In fluent and vivid colloquial language, a mix of words and idioms from the West Flemish dialect and standard Dutch, he delivers a raw story that crossed all boundaries of genre and decency at the time.
In ‘The Van Paemel Family’, Cyriel Buysse addresses the social exploitation and immense poverty of the rural population. Buysse paints a picture of how the farmer becomes ruined and his family falls apart as a result of socioeconomic conditions. Although Buysse offers no solutions to the conflict, there is still a glimmer of hope.