Young Theatre

May 2019
NTGent, Gent, The Netherlands

Part 1:Bijna iedereen kan omvallen: Almost anyone can topple over’, a trajectory of Samana and NTGent with fifteen people in chronic pain.

An exercise in keeping balance and dare to unbalance.

A group of players enter the stage. They are looking for their place. Is it at the front of the stage or at the back? Hidden behind a laughing mask? Or naked and vulnerable in their artlessness and pain? Or do they find their place at the crossroads: where vulnerability and theatre are not opposites, but go hand in hand?

In the wake of the performance Anatomy of Pain, NTGent Publiekswerking is organizing a participation project with Samana, advocate for chronic pain patients and their carers. Under the direction of Debbie Crommelinck, fifteen pain experts will create their own theatre performance. Inspired by Toon Tellegen’s animal stories, among others, they look for a translation of their life with pain, a life that goes hand in hand with pushing back frontiers. The result is a testimony of people who sometimes seem to fall over, but stand upright again and again.

“How do I get past this?
“I think you should fall.
“Falling”? How’s that goin’?
“Come on, I’ll show you.

A performance by NTGent and Samana. Samana unites people with a chronic illness, volunteers and informal carers and strengthens their resilience and social fabric through a variety of activities. All this is only possible thanks to the efforts of 25,000 volunteers.

This project is an initiative of the public NTGent and is part of the series of mirror projects in which groups make their own processing of an NTGent production. Almost anyone can topple over was based on the rehearsal process of Anatomy of Pain, a performance by Lies Pauwels that will premiere at NTGent on 11.12.2019.

I have a list of conditions I have to meet to be satisfied with myself.  When I read that list, I think: I can do two things: either never be satisfied with myself, or make a list with fewer conditions. (After a poem from Toon Tellegens poetry collection I wanted)

A group of people enter the theatre. They take us on a search for their place on stage. Is it at the front in front of the footlights or at the back in the wings? Dressed in a costume or unaffected by their nudity? Or do they find their place when vulnerability doesn’t stand in the way of the play? When the  light still needs to be dimmed? When the masks can still be worn or taken off? When they don’t have to play to be able to play?

In the wake of the performance Anatomy of Pain and accompanied by Debbie Crommelinck, nine experts in pain venture into their own theatre performance. Inspired by Toon Tellegen’s animal stories, among others, they look for a way to bring their lives on stage in pain. A life in which everything has to be in balance in order to keep going, but sometimes they also have to get out of balance in order to continue. The result is a testimony of people who, just like everyone else, sometimes fall over, but time and time again stand up straight.

The performance will be translated live by an interpreter of Flemish Sign Language, who is consciously part of the cast. This fits in with the accessibility for our audience and also helps some actors on stage.

Part 2: Mirror project Edugo Lochristi: The bystander effect (based on La reprise)

Since 2009 NTGent has worked heart and soul on mirror projects. In such a mirror project, NTGent and a partner are venturing into a metamorphosis of one of its performances. In this format, public action distinguishes two genres: the large and the small mirror projects. The adjective does not mean anything about the importance of a project, but about its duration. In a large mirror project, an NTGent performance is turned inside out over a longer rehearsal period. The end product can therefore develop into a full-evening performance. But public relations also wanted to offer the possibility to a (class, school or other type of) group to give their own interpretation to an NTGent performance. Under the guidance of an NTGent theatre teacher, the group works towards a spectacular show moment through a shorter but intensive series of workshops. Due to the limited time span, no full evening piece can be presented. But at the same time, the process of working around a theme and mirroring it to (your own) society is a very intense experience. For the second time, NTGent (likes) to work with EDUGO Lochristi and his fine students and passionate teachers. We can only love the theater package that the school offers to so many young people: attend a performance, start day with introduction, first theatre workshop and brainstorm on the themes, a number of further work sessions at school and five incredibly intense days within the walls of NTGent.