Day 23: Laura van Dolron

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‘How come, when two birds are twittering, that you never hear one of them say: ‘That’s really nice, but why don’t you try to be a cow for a change? So: why are people always pretending to be someone else, on stage?’ My last evening at the KunstenFestival and what do I get? Yes, another director questioning everything and everyone.

It felt as if I had just gotten out of a roller coaster. I had seen everything turned upside down. What is real, what is not? I did know one thing, though, after having seen Als gekken: Laura Van Dolron is a gifted and clever theatre director.

For her new play the Dutch actress, author and director wanted to adapt Lars von Trier’s movie The idiots to the stage. That somehow didn’t work out. But Van Dolron is still left with five actors dying to play lunatics. They sit on chairs, facing the audience, while Van Dolron stands to the left of them, explaining to the audience what went wrong.

She is aware of the fact, she tells us, and troubled by it, that she has ‘five bodies full of potential’. Five great actors who can dance, sing or act. But Van Dolron has decided that she is sick and tired for the need of drama, of actors who need to lose themselves in a role. Yes, she’s even sick of immoral directors who control everything. And that’s why she has decided to destroy theatre. To reduce it to nothing.

Do I really need this?, I heard myself thinking. Another director questioning all the rules and the conventions? But Van Dolron gets away with it, and for that, I applaud her. She takes her audience by the hand, plays an ingenious game with them, throws in enough jokes to keep it funny and enough turns to keep you hooked. She even tackles the notion of  ‘audience participation’ in an elegant way. And the funny thing is: when her actors finally do get to play the fools they were dying to play, it’s probably the most boring part of the evening.

She even succeeds in putting a whiff of political and social consciousness to the whole. ‘Take the compassion you feel for the actors outside, and use it in the real world.‘  Sounds syrupy, doesn’t it? Well, like I said: she gets away with it. I hadn’t expected it to happen, but when I stepped outside, I was looking at the world in a slightly different way.

 (photo credit: Jamie Tiller)

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One Response to “Day 23: Laura van Dolron”

  1. Good post. Good point!

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