Sanne van Rijn (NL) / Dutch Theatre Gent: Über

2500 Ft (No Student discount, Trafó season ticket is not valid!)

Co-organized with the Budapest Autumn Festival.

The less we see, the more there is to be looked at. Sanne van Rijn tries to make us aware of this looking, of its unprecedented power, and of the responsibility this brings with it. Looking means creating the world.

You’re sitting down. All your senses are open, you’re ready to enjoy yourself. The scene is beautiful, just like the lighting. Everything passes of perfectly, just like you expected. And yet something strange is happening – something that disappoints you: there’s nobody on stage. What a shame. You love people so much! Why aren’t they there? Even one would be nice. If only a small one. Or something that looks like it. Something that breaths. With a lively face. With twinkling eyes. With a soft pink colour. With arms and hands that can move. Then you could hear the sound of cracking ice, or something on a radio. All kinds of magical shapes would float into space, in all the colours of the rainbow. Imagine. How nice would that be!

“Sanne van Rijn glints like a mirror. And that’s what she is: a mirror of our desires. (...) A comical eeriness thereby creeps into the play. It complies with our whims, but also keeps to its own absurd logic. However much the soundtrack assures us of the opposite, events on stage only partly reflect our fantasies. Something else happens too, and it is precisely this something else that is the ‘new thing’ that we are interested in. But even though we long for it, when it actually presents itself we are taken by surprise. That is the sublime irony of this piece.” /De Morgen, Pieter T’Jonck, April 2007/

Über recycles the design Anna Viebrock made for Faust Eine subjektieve Tragödie van Pessoa (Theater Basel, 1992).

Sanne van Rijn’s work for the theatre does not fit into any single category. It is not drama, nor dance, nor mime. Nor is it assembled out of all these genres. It is too highly refined for that. Van Rijn trained as a ballet dancer, but later opted for photography and the Sound and Image course in The Hague. The ritual of theatre always plays a part in her work, yet the subject of this theatre is never theatre itself. Rather the opposite. She wants to make theatre invisible. She does so by giving meaning to the audience’s awareness of the theatrical situation. Van Rijn previously made Tilting at the NTGent, which was a choreographic piece with the precision of a watch, and also I want you to become a bear, a family show with live origami and Wim Opbrouck in the role of the brutal father.

Sanne van Rijn has recently made such highly individual plays for ZT Hollandia as Swan Lake (Zwanenmeer), Gradually Zero (Langzaam tot nul) and Morphotope (Vormsnoei). Van Rijn’s theatre is about looking, looking between the folds of the visible. You sometimes hear that in her plays the audience has to work harder than the actors.

This is because it never sees anything completed, but always something that might not keep to the plan, precisely because it is being watched. To be witness to something intended to be perfect but which fails in its execution: Sanne thinks this is the finest thing there is. This is why she doesn’t try to disguise the defects, but actually makes them the theatrical focal point.

In her case the extreme magnification of bungling has nothing to do with irony – even though there’s plenty of laughter – but is on the contrary the house in which the actors live. By making her actors ‘weak’, she wants to make the audience strong. After all, bungling leads to astonishment. And astonishment is the basis for a new look at things. Van Rijn’s theatre requires that one watch actively.

In 2000, Sanne van Rijn was awarded the Amsterdam Art Fund’s incentive prize for Theatre and also the VSCD theatre prize. In 2002 her performance Swan Lake (Zwanenmeer) was selected for the DutchTheatre Festival.

Director: Sanne van Rijn
Performer: Sanne van Rijn
Original set: Anna Viebrock
Setdesign: Inge Roseboom
Sounddesign and Music: Eavesdropper
Lightdesign: Maarten van Otterdijk
Dramaturgy: Koen

With the support of:

Box Office opening hours:
  • Main hall performance days: 5 pm - end of performance + 30 mins, 10 pm max.
  • studio and club performance days: 5 pm - 8:30 pm
  • other days: 5pm - 8 pm
Trafó Gallery opening hours:
  • Performance days: 4-10pm.
  • Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 4pm-7pm.
  • Closed on Mondays.
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