Friday, 29 August 2014

Tickets, Tickets, Tickets!


For this post, and others in the future, I want to share some of the tickets I and our department have purchased for upcoming theatre and dance performances. You may be interested in hearing my take on what is interesting to see in Belgium (and further afield) in the coming months...

First a bit of background. I have so far found two pretty good venues in Belgium for cutting-edge performance:
The first is in Brussels and it's called Kaai theatre, it's located near the Yser metro stop. It has a range of performance showing, anything from dance, to fringe theatre, to live art, some of which is in English.
The second venue is De Singel which is in Antwerp. This is a much bigger venue than Kaai and hosts many bigger scale international companies, again in theatre, dance and music. It's a beautiful venue and the shows are amazing, but expect to pay anything up to 50 euros for a ticket.

And the shows:

- Showing at the Kaai from 23/10-25/10 is a new show by Forced Entertainment, (A UK company that have been making experimental theatre for 30 years already, funny, unusual and thought-provoking often with a discussion of theatrical principles running through their work as well as some social/political content). Their piece The Notebook will probably be pretty sparse in 'showiness' and flair, just like the picture below, but will be an interesting delivery of some powerful messages from the book by Agota Kristof.
"The latest production by Forced Entertainment is based on the highly acclaimed novel The Notebook by the Hungarian writer Ágota Kristóf. The book tells the story of twin brothers evacuated to the Hungarian countryside during World War II, to stay at their impoverished grandmother’s farm. The unnamed narrators are social outsiders, surviving in and understanding the world by a harsh private code. Though strange and dysfunctional, the brothers are slowly revealed to be struggling moralists as Central Europe crumbles into vice, cruelty and opportunism. Kristof’s narrational language – bold, crisp and reduced – provides the basis for a compelling performance. The two performers stand side by side. Trapped in one voice and one shared perspective they tell their fascinating story, an unravelling knot of naïve logic, weaving dark and subversive humour from wartime hardships."
Tickets here


- Showing at De Singel from 04/12 - 07/12 is a piece of dance from the Tanztheater Wuppertal, the company of the late great dance director Pina Bausch. If you haven't already seen the film by Wim Wenders- Pina, then you should. It's breathtaking! This performance of Auf dem Gebirge hat man ein Geschrei gehört at De Singel in my opinion is unmissable, even if you're not normally interested in dance. It's so accessible for all audiences and has some beautiful imagery and will be expertly executed.
"The title of this 1984 piece is half a line from the story of the infanticide ordered by King Herod, as described in the Gospel of Matthew. We see a stage shrouded in mist and covered with a thick layer of earth. It is an arid terrain dominated by an initially vague atmosphere of menace and tension. The battlefield of deep human emotions then becomes more tangible. Crime and punishment, love and farewell create deep wounds. We are confronted with the battle of the sexes – completely in keeping with the situation in the eighties. What is disconcerting is that all pity is omitted. Pina Bausch shows us violence in a way she had never done before or since: brutal and extremely physical."
Tickets here

Following that

-Still at De Singel but from 25/01/15- 28/01/15 is a performance from the wonderful Robert Wilson, (He makes visual feasts on stage with a grand aesthetic and often unusual but entrancing performances from his performers). His show of Les Negres will be as visual striking as it is powerful in it's content. 
"When Jean Genet was commissioned to write a play for black actors in 1948, he knew little of the African continent. However, the French author did know all about humiliation. He had spent his childhood in care-homes and ended up in a juvenile detention centre at the age of ten. Throughout his life he remained an outcast. The inspiration for ‘Les Nègres’ was a music box, built in the eighteenth century, in which four black pages kneeled before a white porcelain princess, and Genet imagined how it would be if he changed around the skin colour of these figures. ‘Les Nègres’ became an almost clownish play in which all is artifice and pretext. Which is precisely what the director Robert Wilson wanted!"
Tickets here


-I'm off to see two shows from an American company The Wooster Group, (of which ISB's very own theatre construction teacher Jim Clayburgh is a founding member). The Wooster Group is an experimental theatre company who's work consists of a combination of words, performance and technology. The company is also recognized for launching the careers of many actors, including Willem Defoe and Spalding Gray. 

Their first piece is showing at the Kaai from the 19/05/15- 23/05/15, called CRY, TROJANS! and it's based on Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida
"CRY, TROJANS! originated as a coproduction with the Royal Shakespeare Company of Troilus and Cressida at the World Shakespeare Festival in conjunction with the London 2012 Olympics. In that collaboration, the two companies took opposite sides in the Trojan War: the Wooster Group staged the Trojan scenes while the RSC staged the Greek ones. Scenes with both Greeks and Trojans were staged by both, each side developing its own version. The companies worked separately and without consultation until they met a few weeks before performances to sew the two halves of the show together. The seam was intentionally left rough so that the contrast of artistic approaches remained a foreground feature of the production, accenting the face-off of warring cultures in the play."

Their second piece, showing the following week at De Singel from 28/05 - 31/05 is Early Shaker Spirituals.
"Early Shaker Spirituals’ is based on the music album of the same name by Sister R. Mildred Barker and her Shaker community in Sabbathday Lake (Maine). It consists of Shaker hymns recorded between 1963 and 1976. The Wooster Group sings the hymns as they sound on the album recording. The remaining fragments of the Shakers’ ecstatic dancing and physical gestures form the basis from which The Wooster Group develops simple dance patterns."

1 comment :

  1. I like this idea Carl - let's get more colleagues reading this so that we can enjoy the kultuur of Belgium ensemble.