Classified ads on stage? ‘The Search Project’ by Tristero

Oh, what a beautiful mess do we all make of our lives. That’s what I was thinking, smilingly, upon leaving Kaaitheater (Brussels) after having seen The Search Project, the new play by Tristero. Theirs is a bold project: it’s based on classifieds and on those short advertisements we all know so well only.

It starts off with a number of those classifieds being shown on the back wall. You read the weird abbreviations and try to figure out what it is that short advertisement really wants so say. Somebody starts laughing. He or she has gotten the point just that millisecond before you did. After having read a few of them, you realize: classifieds are meant to be read. How on earth is Tristero going to make a theatre play (which means: actors talking) out of this?

And that’s the trick this theatre collective from Brussels manages to pull off. Somehow they succeed in making an enjoyable play out of this collage of all these diverse and bizarre ads. People looking for love, for sex, for cars, for cat and dogs. One by one the actors and actresses appear. Men, women, children and adults. They look at you and then they tell you what it is they want so badly. Maybe it’s all a bit too slow sometimes, and maybe there’s a tinge too much Jérôme Bel in it, but by clever dramaturgy and lots of deadpan humour, they manage to come up with a nice series of short and simple scenes.

You look at them, you hear what they say, and you start imagining what the rest of the lives of all those people could look like. And after a while you realize: this could be me. Or you. Even though the things they are looking for are often slightly odd, in a strange way you do feel connected. And a certain sadness creeps in. Oh yes, what a beautiful mess do we all make of our lives.

Tour schedule here.

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