Needcompany (B): Isabella's room

1500 Ft (Trafó bérlet érvényes)

Isabella's room - Laugh and be gentle to the unknown

Isabella’s room contains a secret. It is the location of a lie. It is the location of the lie that dominates Isabella’s existence. This lie is an image. An exotic image. The image of a desert prince. Isabella is the daughter of a desert prince who disappeared on an expedition. This is what her foster parents, Arthur and Anna, told her. They lived together in a lighthouse on an island, where Arthur was the lighthouse-keeper. Like an island, the lighthouse is a transitional area: somewhere between the sea and the land, between solid and fluid, between inside and outside. The lighthouse is built on the land, but it yearns for the sea. Isabella yearns for the desert, the desert prince, Africa.

This is how the life-story of the blind old Isabella begins. But it soon becomes clear that a terrible, unutterable truth lies hidden beneath the story of the desert prince. Anna and Arthur cannot live with their secrets and escape into drink. Anna dies and Arthur throws himself into the sea. Isabella’s quest for her father, the desert prince, does not lead her to Africa but to a room in Paris, filled with anthropological and ethnological objects.

Isabella is old and blind when she looks back over her life. She lives in her room in Paris surrounded by the thousands of exotic objects plundered from Ancient Egypt and black Africa. They belonged to Jan Lauwers’ father, who on his death left them to his wife and children. These objects were separated from their cultural context by the view of a different era, one which was colonial and regarded them as exotic. They are objects in which a world – Africa – has come to a standstill, become petrified, stored, ‘museumised’ and fetishised. Isabella’s life spans almost the entire 20th century: the First and Second World Wars, Hiroshima, colonialism, the development of modern art, involving such figures as Joyce, Picasso and Huelsenbeck, the journeys to the moon, David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, the famines in Africa and the Vlaams Blok [Tr.: far-right political party] in Antwerp. (Erwin Jans)

Nine performers reveal together the secret of Isabella’s room with as central figure the monumental actress Viviane De Muynck.

Isabella - Viviane De Muynck Anna - Anneke Bonnema Arthur - Benoît Gob Alexander - Hans Petter Dah Frank - Maarten Seghers The Desert Prince - Julien Faure Sister Joy - Muriel Hérault Sister Bad - Tijen Lawton Narrator - Misha Downey

Text: Jan Lauwers és Anneke Bonnema Directed by: Jan Lauwers Music: Hans Petter Dahl, Maarten Seghers Lyrics: Jan Lauwers, Anneke Bonnema Dance : Julien Faure, Misha Downey, Tijen Lawton, Muriel Hérault Costumes: Lemm&Barkey Set design: Jan Lauwers

The coproducers: Festival d’Avignon, Théâtre de la Ville/ Paris, Théâtre Garonne/ Toulouse, La Rose des Vents / Scène Nationale de Villeneuve d'Ascq, Brooklyn Academy of Music/ New York and welt in basel theaterfestival. With the cooperation of the Kaaitheater/ Brussels and the Flemish Community Commission of the Brussels Capital Region.

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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