The bed’s too big without you (‘Nachtevening’, Inne Goris/LOD)

Boy, being an actor sure is a tricky job, these days. Recently I’ve seen actors having to stay on top of a tilted stage (Ingrid von Wantoch Rekowski), and actors trying to stay on their feet on a revolving stage (Compagnie Cecilia). In Nachtevening (by Ghent-based LOD and director Inne Goris), two actors have to move around on a small bed-sized stage, while the audience is sitting around them. It’s almost as if the actors are gladiators in a tiny Roman arena.

A man and a woman. On a bed. She’s reaching out for him. Some sort of romantic story? Yeah, right. We have entered the cruel and otherworldly realm of Greek mythology. Nachtevening or Equinox is based on the story of Medea. The woman (Medea) has killed their four children. The man (Jason) is at his wits’ end. She’s begging for forgiveness, but can he forgive her without forgetting?

I really liked the setting of Inne Goris’ Nachtevening. A small stage, the audience watching the actors from up close. The performance is as much about the text as it is about their moves, meticulously choreographed. (It’s not a coincidence that both actors are ex-dancers from Ultima Vez, the company of Belgian choreographer Wim Vandekeybus). Goris tries to merge all of this with music: a sound scape from dj/musician Eavesdropper, mixed with the live sounds from a small choir, standing on the ridges of that arena the audience is sitting in.

Goris’ concept really is intriguing. But nevertheless I felt a bit disappointed afterwards. It was annoying to have an actor who couldn’t speak Dutch that well. You really had to concentrate on what he was saying. On the night I saw Nachtevening, the sound scape and the choir didn’t blend nicely. The text is obviously kept sparse and abstract, but in the end it just wasn’t enough to trigger my imagination and my thoughts.

So yes, I can see what Inne Goris (and Pieter De Buysser, who wrote the text) is trying to accomplish. But it just wasn’t working for me. Or did I just happen to go on the wrong night?

(photo credit: Koen Broos)

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