It’s only words, and words are all I have (‘De duivel beduveld/Le diable abandonné’)
When it’s all over, ‘puppeteer’ Patrick Corillon invites everyone to come and take a look in his magical box. By then, everyone is so mesmerized that we all jump to our feet. How did he pull it off? How did he manipulate all those curtains, flags, props and words inside this amazing puppet theatre without puppets? Yes, there’s an actress telling a story, and a piano player accompanying it, but the real star of De duivel beduveld (Le diable abandonné) by LOD is undoubtedly visual artist Corillon.
De duiveld beduveld (The devil bedeviled) by Ghent-based music theatre company LOD, is an adaptation in Dutch of the original French version, Le diable abandonné, by Patrick Corillon and Dominique Roodthooft created for Le Corridor in 2007. Whereas Corillon used classical music by Schumannn, Mussorgsky, Ligeti and Cage for his version, LOD asked composer Thomas Smetryns to come up with new music for solo piano for this Dutch version.
It all begins with actress Karlijn Sileghem running into a strange guy with a strange book in a library. It’s his story that she is telling us during De duivel beduveld: the story of a son not wanting to take over the puppet theatre of his father. While she is doing so, all sorts of images and words pop up in that big rectangle (ten times an A4 sheet of paper, Corillon will tell you afterwards – it’s all in the details) of the puppet theatre.
You sit there, smiling. Then after fifteen minutes or so, you start wondering how Corillon will be able to continue coming up with things to surprise you with. And that’s the small wonder of this performance (Corillon actually is a visual artist): he does succeed in surprising you right up until the end.
No puppets but words. And that’s the way it should be, because De duivel beduveld is a story about the power and the magic of words. About how words can define a person. How we can be lost without them. On the night I saw De duivel beduveld Karlijn Sileghem was still struggling a bit to find the right tone. How to tell this story without imposing herself to much, and without becoming too invisible as well. Nevertheless: a remarkable performance. Not to be missed.
Did all of this make you curious? Do visit the site of Patrick Corillon. It has some video fragments of the French version of De duiveld beduveld. You’ll find them here.