Zeezicht 3
08 Festival

Power rehearsals

Jaco Bouwer works with the theme power. The different themes used for the 08 Festival are selected from Odysseus, the play which Toneelgroep De Appel is playing now. The theme power had to be narrowed down to principles of power that you can understand directly. Director Jaco Bouwer chose to work with power on a human level: he wanted to show the game of power played between man and wife, parents and children, lovers and between the individual and the group/society.

After reading scenes from Woyzeck by the German writer Georg Büchner and talking about the Fritzl-case, which was in the news, several questions of conscience came up like: ‘Why did you do it?' and ‘Do you hate yourself?' These questions were to inquire and to confront yourself and others with stuff you'd rather not think about. To feel the consequences of power several improvisations were played during the rehearsal process. Some of them were really terrifying for the onlooker because of associations with the Stanford Prison Experiment: the ones who are in power are going to abuse this power. It was all acting, but some of it felt absolutely real. Through the improvisations the idea emerged of a space which you can't leave. The everlasting circle of events which take place in this space is the basis for the play. The definition of the space is ambivalent: it can be everywhere.

Power and games of power are to be found everywhere and on every level. With this thought the group read several plays in which people push each other to the limit. The most beautiful and powerful scenes from these texts were selected and brought back to their essence in which the suspense is tangible. Quite often this meant just a few sentences in which the characters express their feelings with cynicism or with an emotional outburst.

After the selection of different scenes the texts had to be structured to open up their meaning to an audience. Because the scenes are so fragmented a new meaning is attached to the original scenes, which emerges through the new structure. Apart from the selected texts, the actors have written monologues which shed a clear light on the relationship between man and woman. The play has become the very picture of power, but at the same time it shows powerlessness.

Karlijn op het Veld
apprentice drama Toneelgroep De Appe

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