‘Schöne Blumen’: flowers that fail to bloom

There’s no formula for success. Even well-established and experienced artists sometimes fail. That’s one of the reasons why art never ceases to fascinate me. Take Schöne Blumen for instance, the latest play by acclaimed Flemish theatre director Arne Sierens (produced by his Compagnie Cecilia, Ghent, and Het Paleis, Antwerp). All the elements that constitute his style are present. All the things you’ll always find in these plays that earned him praise in theatres around the world. But this time they get Sierens nowhere at all. That strange decor (a bamboo construction), those lowlife characters (barmaids and regulars in a late night bar), that everyday language, and a play that only sketches the contours, but by doing that should nevertheless tickle your imagination. But this time around, you sit there, watching, listening and waiting… for nothing to happen. It’s as if the sorcerer’s magic stick suddenly has lost its power. Those characters and their story fail to fascinate and that play slowly drags itself towards the end. When it’s all over you frown and think: how did this happen? (Tour schedule & more info here)

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