12 till 16 August 2020

To Care as Caress

Building Conversation | 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.

During the special conversational performance To care and Caress twelve participants explore the phenomenon care. Who do you care for? What for? At any price? Do we allow people to get sick? Is it more meaningful to battle disease than to fight solitude?

Now that Covid-19 is not ready to break up camp just yet, this leads to conversation topics worldwide. And that goes for Den Bosch as well: To Care as Caress is an exceptional theatrical opportunity for healthcare workers, caregivers and everyone who feels compelled to reflect on the current times. The encounter is organized by Building Conversation, a collective of Dutch and Flemish artists. They approach a conversation like a communal artwork. They draw inspiration from the conversation rituals of the Inuit, Maori and the Occupy movement for example.

One of the two moderators of To Care and Caress is Peter Aers. This Flemish theater maker and philosopher does not shy away from discomfiting issues. And he doesn’t drown abrasive life questions in iodine in advance, either. In the conversational performance The Pain of Others he explored the question whether the pain of for instance refugees or psychiatric patients can be shared. He also moderates the art of dialogue in youth institutions and prisons.

To Care as Caress starts with reading a story collectively. Not a story about IC units, viruses or red and white barrier tape, “but a fictional story, because we are in need of different stories,” says Peter on the telephone. “We let fiction lead us much more than we realize, while fiction can cause tangible changes.”

Does he see these conversations as wings made out of splints, feathers and wax, which allow you to momentarily escape form reality? Only partially: “We work with people. You can never deny their reality. But Building Conversation tries to create a different kind of imagination. “What defies your imagination at first, are the consequences of the pandemic. Not only the medical or economic ones: Covid-19 also sharpens the relationship between the government and the people – especially in Belgium, where the measures are stricter than in the Netherlands.

“Care centers for the elderly were closed, lonely people died: that makes it necessary to thoroughly reconsider our social contract.” This phrase, borrowed from philosophy, is about the imaginary contract between the state and the individual. Broadly speaking, it regulates their mutual rights and duties, but it also takes care of the government’s monopoly to use violence. “In the times of Covid-19 we see that the government intervenes in the life and death of civilians. That is something substantial. It requires further discussion about our so-called onepointfivemeter-society and our constitutional rights. That is part of ‘care’ as well.”

Dates and times
12, 13 and 14 August from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
15 and 16 August from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Podium Azijnfabriek
Bethaniestraat 4

Do you want to attend one of these meetings? Send an email to babette@festivalboulevard.nl and leave us your name and preferred date.

Concept and support
Peter Aers and Erika Sprey

Location Locatie: Lotte van den Berg - To care and caresse
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