In this onsite opera performance based on Maurice Maeterlinck’s symbolistic play, two men stand in the backyard of a house. They observe the evening happiness of a small family. But the men come with bad news, news that will disrupt the happiness of the family forever. The longer the men keep looking, the more difficult it seems to break the bad news. There is something elusive about the tranquillity that radiates from the unknowing family. So the men in the garden keep watching, to allow the family’s happiness a bit more time.
We set up two opposing worlds. For the world of the two men, we made a swamp of black mud. With each step, we hear a sucking sound, and walking is difficult. Props are pulled out of the mud, for example the mountain bike that the children used to ride on. This is a swamp of memories. The world of the happy family, on the other hand, is a fresh green grass meadow with blossoming flowers. These worlds are separated by a semi-transparent wall, which leaves small cracks visible. Suddenly, the wall is silently and automatically opened up, like a choreography that seems to be leading its own life. The audience sits in a semi-circle around the swamp. At the end of the performance, an a capella choir that has been hiding among the audience suddenly appears
Huis aan de Werf/ Oerol 2008
director Matthias Mooij
light Maarten Warmerdam
costumes Judith de Zwart
photo courtesy Willem Sluyterman van Loo
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