14 till 30 August 2020

Alexandra Broeder

Alexandra Broeder | NL

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Boulevard wholeheartedly connects with the city and its inhabitants, particularly now. We asked ten makers, whom we’ve trusted for years, to create something especially for ‘Powered by Boulevard’. These projects are made for and sometimes with specific groups from the city. Their progress can soon be followed online by everyone.

In recent years Alexandra Broeder [1978] developed work on the cutting edge of psychiatry and theater. Together with girls from Amsterdam mental health institution De Bascule she made the highly acclaimed productions The Well [2018] and The Tree [2019]. For Powered by Boulevard she goes to work in Vught. Together with adolescents between 15 and 19 years old, who all live at Herlaarhof – part of mental health institution Reinier van Arkel Groep – she has conversations about the influence of the pandemic on their lives. It is expected that these meetings provide the resources for a theatrical presentation of The Ghosttrack.

The project seems to fit Alexandra like a glove. She loves no-man’s-lands. Between fact and fiction, between control and urges. She explores these areas by touch, because quite often they are foggy grounds she treads on. But never deserted: children and adolescents live in these shady enclaves, and they guide themselves and others to unknown realities. One certainty: they often give adults the creeps. For they are master of everything, with the exception of their own powerlessness. This provides intriguing theater productions – like Candyland and The crow knows where the children go – in which power, mischief and vulnerability set the tone.

Alexandra, on the collaboration with adolescents who are extra vulnerable psychologically: “Much of what seems to be evident, does not apply to these groups. That is one of the lessons I learned making The Tree and The Well. Take for instance eye contact: some of them can hardly bear that – especially in the beginning of a project. There were also girls who didn’t dare to travel from Amsterdam Central Station to Theater Frascati [a 1 km distance]. We picked them up at the station.”

For herself too, this process remains exciting, Alexandra says. “On the one hand I want to take them along on my artistic journey, on the other hand I have to take them into consideration all the time. Which means: what can we do? What can’t we do? Or what can’t we do yet?” It’s that wobbliness in which both power and beauty germinate. But never without falling down and getting back up. For instance, Alexandra decided to show the girls the movie trailers of Sweet Dreams and MAMMA. “But within a few minutes three of them had run to the hallway with a panic attack. Okay, I thought: let’s do relaxation exercises. But lying down on the floor or touching each other was a bridge too far as well. I learned a lot from that.”

She is fascinated by the disruption that corona causes. For, even the tough expansion bolt-souls can’t remain unmoved by the social consequences. “Let alone what the restriction of freedom or digital contact in treatments – through Zoom or the Internet - means for adolescents in psychiatry. I assume that a part of them will be relieved. Now it is less noticeable that they can hardly keep up with the otherwise incredibly busy world. But in others it will cause fear and uncertainty. As if corona stands for inevitability – a prophecy of doom by Cassandra.”

Whether The Ghosttrack asks a lot of empathy form Alexandra? With an open heart: “I recognize myself in these adolescents and I am no stranger to mental suffering. I’ve never been off the circuit for a certain amount of time. But I could have been. I have a fascination for descending into parallel worlds.”

Location Kruising Pettelaarseweg - Sterrebosweg
Running time doorlopend
Theaterfestival Boulevard thanks:
  • Gemeente 's-Hertogenbosch
  • Den Bosch Partners
  • Provincie Noord-Brabant
  • Fonds Podiumkunsten
  • VSBfonds
  • Fonds21
  • Vriendenloterij Fonds
  • Creative Europe Programme (EU)
  • Gieskes-Strijbis Fonds
  • Dioraphte
  • VandenEnde Foundation
  • Fonds ZOZ
  • Jeugdfonds Sport & Cultuur
  • Jan van Hoof Galerie
  • Apap
  • Feminist Futures
  • Performing Gender