Tilting the monuments, Queering the myths

Thursday 22 February 2018, 20:00 - 22:00 hrs.
DAS Graduate School
Overhoeksplein 2
1031 KS Amsterdam

An evening with four theatre makers, directors or writers: Ong Keng Sen, Simone Derai, Joachim Robbrecht and Anta Helena Recke. With the generous input of Dr. Sruti Bala (UVA).

Myths are (like) monuments: apparently solid, timeless, encapsulating. They install foundations, emblematic figures, battles and struggles in our cultural archive. Enter the artists. In their way of engaging with cultural legacies, they may be tilting the monuments, queering the myths.

In a time where monuments in public space are contested for their uncritical ‘honouring’ of histories of oppression, many civic movements and artist initiatives publicly demand for abolition or at least contextualisation of these monuments.

In the performing arts, we are used to so-called ‘adaptations'. Can we invest in developing more specific language? How do performing artists nowadays relate to these cultural legacies? Tilting might be understood here as a structural critical intervention. Queering might be understood as inversing, or multiplying perspectives. Let’s listen to how the artists themselves articulate their approaches.

Attendance is free, attendance is free, but seating is limited. Reserve your place with an email to: dastheatre@ahk.nl.

Ong Keng Sen
(Singapore, 1963) is regarded as one of the most original theatre directors to emerge from Southeast Asia. After studying intercultural theatre at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, he began The Flying Circus Project, a centre for bringing together traditional and contemporary arts from various disciplines: theatre, music, dance, video, the visual arts, documentary film and ritual. He subsequently established Arts Network Asia, where artists and activists from throughout the region can collaborate. Ong Keng Sen is the director of TheatreWorks, an international group based in Singapore devoted to the exploration of Asian identity and its relationship with 21st-century developments. Between 2013 and 2017, he was the director of the independent Singapore International Festival of the Arts. His latest piece Trojan Women will be shown at this years’ Holland Festival in June 2018.

Simone Derai (Italy, 1975) graduated from the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia. After a lengthy apprenticeship with some of the masters, with a group of friends he founded the Anagoor collective, to which he brought his inclination towards drawing, writing and the creation of images, the need for personal experimentation on the stage, his interest in the history of man and the dimension of tragedy, his most pressing ethical and political issues. Since 2000 he has been responsible for the dramaturgy, the design of the sets, costumes and lights, and the direction of both the productions and videos of Anagoor.

Simone is currently a guest teacher in the DAS Theatre block programme The Mything Link. Anagoor will receive the Silver Lion for Theatre 2018 at the next La Biennale di Venezia.

Joachim Robbrecht (Belgium, 1979) is based in the Netherlands, where he also graduated from the directors department of the Academy of Theatre and Dance in Amsterdam. He is committed to performing arts as an author, director and performer, setting up projects himself as well as working in collaboration with other groups, like Dood Paard, Oostpool, Wunderbaum, Warme Winkel or the Berlin based collective Andcompany&co. Robbrechts’ theatre aims at interrupting our realities through an aesthetic experience that eventually raises ethical questions, often defying identity politics.

With director Sarah Moeremans he has a long-standing collaboration as performer and author. Together they have started a series “What’s in a fairy tale?”, where they dissect the potential of fairy tales for todays’ society. Joachim is tutor at DAS Theatre. Robin Hood, the first in the series, premieres beginning of March 2018.

Anta Helena Recke (1989, Germany) worked in the field of theatre education before starting drama studies at the University of Hildesheim in 2011, and later worked as a director’s assistant at the Münchner Kammerspiele with many theatre makers affiliated with the independent scene. She developed various transdisciplinary performances and curatorial projects in the area of music. Within her web performance cycle “work song series” (www.worksongseries.net), she developed the 24-hour performances “GANGSTERS PARADISE” and “WATERFALLS”. She coins her works ‘conceptual art in the form of theatrical performances’ and deals with normativity on many layers. 

In October 2017, she ‘copied’ an existing mise-en-scène of the play Mittelreich, staged by Anna-Sophie Mahler at Münchner Kammerspiele, in the style of appropriation art: with a cast of black actors. Both the original and the copy were invited to the Berliner Theatertreffen. 

DAS Theatre has invited South African playwright and director Brett Bailey to curate the Block 'The Mything Link – Breaking Stories form the Dawn of Time’ for the academic year 2017-2018. Starting from an engagement with myth in his own work, Bailey wish to contextualize, deepen and expand his fascination has led to the following questions: What ancient, unconscious, cultural meanings and knowledge do myths hold for us today? How can myths resonate with the fraught era in which we are living? What harmful prejudices do they perpetuate, and how can we rid them of those prejudices?

Several public events are planned – some open for a general audience, some for a smaller, invited audience. These are moments the block ‘opens up’ to the outside world, and DAS Theatre shares the artistic resources of the block: Curators Labs, contextual evenings with guest speakers alongside block teachers and presentation evenings where the work developed by students is shown. Keep an eye out on our Facebook page for all the latest information.