Boulevard seeks collaborations with theatre makers and festivals both at home and abroad. The result can be a one-night stand, but most often the commitment is long-term. One that gives birth to a beautiful creature called Coproduction.
VERBODEN GEBIED: VROUW IN NIEMANDSLAND | JOHAN SIMONS, ELSIE DE BRAUW, ERWIN MORTIER
A mesmerising ode to women
Proud as new parents, Theaterfestival Boulevard presents the gripping monologue Verboden Gebied: Vrouw in Niemandsland in the intimidate setting of Theater De Speeldoos in Vught. For four festival nights, Elsie de Brauw holds a polyphonic soliloquy about women during the Great War. Her performance proves the actress is in a league of her own. The text, which was written by the Flemish author Erwin Mortier, gets under the skin. Johan Simons’ direction has led to a piercing play that hasn’t gone unnoticed:
De Volkskrant [****]: “It is equally disturbing and brilliant, this two-part play on women, war and the way the theatre should deal with these.”
Theaterkrant [****]: “An impressive, poignantly rendered gamut of voices offering a carrousel of new perspectives.”
NRC [****]: A chilling monologue.”
A happy incidental circumstance of many of our co-productions is the opportunity to let them tour. It means many more people can enjoy them. The same goes for Verboden Gebied: Vrouw in Niemandsland. In autumn 2018 the show came to a few lucky theatres in Belgium and the Netherlands, a modest tour as part of the centennial of the end of World War I. A reprise for season 2019, which Boulevard will book and support, has already been agreed upon.
COMPASSIE. DE GESCHIEDENIS VAN HET MACHINEGEWEER | NTGENT EN MILO RAU
Hope does not wear a bulletproof vest
For five decades the city of ’s-Hertogenbosch was subjected to dull blows every week. They came from the shooting bunkers at weapons and ammunition manufacturers De Kruithoorn. In 1998 the business closed down. Was it because demand for weaponry had dropped? Get real. Compassie. De geschiedenis van het machinegeweer teaches us otherwise.
Evil never retires, as the disillusioned former aid worker played by Els Dottermans knows. In an extended monologue she shares her adventures during the Ruandan civil war: constant threats, cynicism and at rare intervals, love for a shelter.
Every now and then, Olga intervenes. She is a 28-year-old Hutu refugee who grew up with a black adoptive family in a village near Orléans. From behind a desk, with a camera in front of her, Olga tells her story. Every furrow in her brow, every quivering eyelash or sardonic smile appears a thousand times enlarged on the screen. And then there are the images from Tarantino’s film Inglorious Bastards, highlighting the perpetuum mobile that is violence: formidable evil never fails to elicit intergenerational retaliation.
Like in his stomach-punching Five Easy Pieces – at Boulevard in 2016 – Milo Rau interweaves fact and fiction in this play. Which does little to relieve our discomfort. Visitors know that the genocide and the rapes of thousands of women did not spring from the imagination. They never did and never will.
Big P.S.: the premiere of Compassie in ’s-Hertogenbosch proves that the long-standing collaboration between NTGent and Boulevard remains just as powerful and relevant under the company’s new artistic director, Milo Rau.