In Heiner Müller’s text, Count Valmont and his former mistress Marquise De Merteuil are involved in a perverse role-play. Seduction, power, lust, jealousy, and destruction: in a power play of life and death, they play themselves, the other, and each other. A live orchestra brings a musical undercurrent to the performance.
“A salon before the French Revolution – a bunker after the Third World War”: Heiner Müller’s stage direction is a chronic paradox. We literally reverse the laws and regulations of the theatre, by placing the audience on stage and the performance in the hall, which creates a disruptive happening. At the start of the event, the empty theatre hall, with its velvet and velour, is still virginal and empty. During the performance, the space is played, trashed, and desecrated; four technicians are constantly working during the performance to transform the hall. From the balconies they throw plastic stuffing, old mattresses, mirrors, and aluminium, thereby building a chaos. Handheld cameras record and display images on TV screens and on frayed sheets thrown down from the balconies. There are extreme close-ups, sometimes of body parts: they penetrate, as it were, showing the body that plays an increasingly important role in the text. The cameras are a weapon in the game, and a means of exhibitionism. The orchestra is a third character. It appears everywhere during the act, first with one musician, then more and more, until at the end there are forty musicians in the hall.
Toneelgroep Oostpool/Het Gelders orkest 2014
director Marcus Azzini
musical director Martin Fondse
light Stijn van Bruggen
costumes Mattijs van Bergen