The State of Mary

2013

Author: Friedrich Schiller
Director: Arne Sybren Postma

The State of Mary, based largely on Friedrich Schiller’s Maria Stuart, was adapted and developed by Herman Duchenne.

“What did you think, the first time you saw me? Did you spy the devil’s daughter they’d warned you about?”

Two iconic queens in a bloody power struggle have to deal with their faiths, the interests of their people, and of the men that surround them… Mary’s asylum puts Elizabeth in a state of defence. Family loyalty and duty to the kingdom, fear of death and child envy define the outcome of this intimate confrontation.Who has the power and who runs the State?

“I traded kingly tyranny for a vision of Justice. And what a fleeting, useless vision it had proved! Has Justice won me my people’s love and loyalty? Has Justice silenced their whisperings of my bastardy?”

Come and see top-notch actresses Lara Stanisic and Sandy Topzand perform in this state-of-the-art production by Het Homerostheater, the prominent multilingual theatre company from The Hague.

Cast

Sandy Topzand as Elizabeth, Maid
Lara Stanisic as Mary, Nanny

Micah Westera Set Design
Greet van Buytene, and Joke van de Graaf Costume Design

Hinterlands – Heart of Lightness

2013

Author: Ko van den Bosch
Director: Arne Sybren Postma

The Hague’s Het Homerostheater has for the first time translated a modern Dutch play in English, presenting ‘Hinterlands – Heart of Lightness.’

Directed by Arne Sybren Postma, Ko van den Bosch’s ‘Hinterlands – Heart of Lightness’ is about an expat couple in Africa. While he leaves every day for work in his Enhanced Safety Mercedes-Benz, his wife stays in the air-conditioned villa as a victim to absolute boredom, afraid of the jungle and the savages. They kill time drinking, debating the situation in Africa, and the question whether to help the wounded native on the driveway, or to run over him. Then, she decides to invite the man in… 

Ko van den Bosch, Dutch playwright, actor and director, is well known in the Netherlands for the vibrant performances of Alex d’Electrique. It has been called the rawest Dutch theatre company, making anti-theatre with an iron logic, set in absurd multiverses.

Cast

Herman Duchenne as The Man
Lara Stanisic as The Woman
Micah Westera as The Native

Ben Stolk Set Design

The Importance of Being Earnest

2011 – 2012

Author: Oscar Wilde
Director: Arne Sybren Postma

Our controversial production was one of the most talked about shows at the Festival of European Anglophone Theatrical Societies 2011 in Geneva, and was awarded with a prize for best set design (Ben Stolk).

Jack and Algernon, two young pillars of society, are both avoiding the duties and responsibilities of Victorian social life. By inventing friends and brothers they try to escape from boredom and tedious obligations. Will they succeed in their pursuit of love and freedom? Or will they find defeat in marriage and respectability?

The play mocks Victorian society, but does not attack it. To Wilde social conventions were a farce, but a necessary farce: too important to be taken seriously.

Oscar Wilde was a wild dandy at the height of his success in 1895’s London when The Importance of Being Earnest premiered. His unmatched sharp wit, eloquent writing, and his talent for satire, all culminating in this masterpiece.
But the importance of Earnest was in itself also a paradox: the subtitle of the play isn’t A Trivial Comedy for Serious People by accident. Wilde neglected to take his public opponent, the Marquis of Queensberry, serious enough and sued him for slander in a trial that would later horribly backfire. Fifteen weeks later he was put in jail. It was the end of his career.

If there is anything Wilde seems to want to say with this play then it is that the social conventions of the Victorian era were meeting their end. He poked effortlessly through the hypocrisy of the upper class. Marriage had become a business arrangement in which status, heritage, property (and for the ladies: purity), were more important than love. His two lead characters, Jack and Algernon, well educated revelers, would like to get married. However they are trapped in a necessity to portray themselves as different from the people they actually are so they may obtain the marriage with the woman they each desire: Earnest in town, Jack in the country. The ladies, for their part, have formed their world view primarily from dime novels, and arrange marriages in their imaginations, sealed in diaries and poetry books. At the same time Lady Bracknell is mostly interested in heritage and the size of the dowry and inheritance, taking up position as a bulldozer matchmaker. Making sure that no one marries beneath their station.

Cast

Herman Duchenne as Algernon Moncrieff
Peter Hubbard as Jack Worthing
Johannes Micah Westera as Rev. Chasuble
Joan Prince as Lady Bracknell
Lara Stanisic as Miss Prism
Catherine van Zeeland as Cecily Cardew
Julia Lintelo as Gwendolyn Fairfax
Sandy Topzand as Gwendolyn Fairfax

Ben Stolk Set Design
Fenneke Brookhuis Costume Design

The Pillowman

2009 – 2010

Author: Martin McDonagh
Director: Arne Sybren Postma

The Pillowman starts with an interrogation in a totalitarian regime. The talented, yet unpublished, writer Katurian is grilled on his rather morbid stories by the traditional good cop / bad cop routine. A number of his stories are suspiciously like some gruesome child murders that took place. What follows is a game of cat and mouse in which the fragility of life and the eternity of the writer are played out against each other. The art of telling stories becomes the lifeblood of the drama.

“Are you trying to say I shouldn’t write stories with child-killings in them because in the real world there are child-killings?”

Kafka meets Tarantino in this viciously funny, yet unsettling story about stories themselves.

The Pillowman participated with great success at the Festival of European Anglophone Theatrical Societies (FEATS) in 2009 in Brussels. Our performance won the 3rd place in the overall category of Best Production, and actor Wander Bruijel won the Blackie Award for Best Actor for his role of Katurian.

De Gewaande Krygsman, of Nieuwmodesche Minnaar

2007 – 2008

Author: Jan van Hoven
Director: Arne Sybren Postma

The 18th century masquerade that homerostheater made in 2007 – 2008 was an unadulterated farce from 1715 by the unknown author Jan van Hoven from the Hague.

This very special 18th century masquerade was made in close collaboration with the Werkgroep 18e Eeuw. This group acts as a hatch for information and knowledge from the eighteenth century history and as a meeting place for members and interested people. The Werkgroep celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2008 and to celebrate this momentous occasion they organised a congress in Utrcht on the 25th and 26th of January 2008 with the theme: “Masquerade and Unmasking.” The show premiered at the congress and was later also performed in the Rijksmuseum Twenthe in Enschede, multiple times in The Hague and Leiden, and twice in the Dominicuscollege in Nijmegen. The puppetshow-like production was famed for its physical expression and fat humor.

De Gewaande Krygsman is, as any good farce should be, a fairly flat story: Govert, the father of Dilliaane, is desperate to wed her to the nobleman Groothart, a pompous ass who can go on and on about his many heroic acts and has a curious preference for LARGE women. The lovable squire Eelhart is secretly very much in love with Dilliaane, but stands no chance to turn Govert’s mind without the help of his servant Krispyn, who disguises himself as a woman to seduce Groothart and stave off the wedding. He’s assisted by Jasje (the clownesque servant of Groothart), Bernardus (Govert’s nephew), and Katryn (Govert’s maid). Eventually the story culminates in a long scene in which Krispyn, in a very inventive disguise, succeeds in seducing Groothart and thus convincing Govert that he is unfit to be his daughters lover. Eelhart gets Dilliaane: all is well that ends well.

Cast

Jan Kees in ‘t Veld as Lord Govert
Corné Versteegh as Barnardus
Marlies Wisse as Dilliaane and Jasje
Anke Teunis as Katryn
Ed Balsters as Lord Groothart
Bernard Oosterbaan as Squire Eelhart
Thomas Gerkrath as Krispyn
Coca Román van Dongen as Anna and Harpist

One for the Road

2006 – 2007

Author: Harold Pinter
Director: Arne Sybren Postma

One for the Road (1984) by Harold Pinter is one of his more famous short plays. Nicolas has invited a complete family – father, mother and eight-year-old son – into his sinister state institution for a good questioning:

What about you? Do you love death? Not necessarily your own. Others’. The death of others. Do you love the death of others, or at any rate, do you love the death of others as much as I do?

One for the Road played at the International FEATS 2007 (Festival of European Anglophone Theatrical Societies) at the Koninklijke Schouwburg in The Hague

The adjudicator wrote:
An invisibly linked row of white tables and two office chairs gave a deceptively conference room appearance to what was to become the scene of a chilling interrogation in Harold Pinter’s One For The Road presented by Het Homerostheater of The Hague. Dramatic electronic music helped to keep the tension as Nicolas, the interrogator, played out his games of psychological intimidation. His smooth, quiet delivery belied his sinister, sadistic nature. The four characters all gave strong performances in this riveting production.

We played at the CULTURALIS Theater festival, at The American School of The Hague in Wassenaar and at het Kennemer Lyceum in Overveen.

Cast

Herman Duchenne as Nicolas
Ed Balsters as Victor
Joel Balsters as Nicky
Simone Bergmann as Gila

Waiting for Godot

2005

Author: Samuel Beckett
Director: Arne Sybren Postma

Vladimir and Estragon are waiting. And they are good at it.
They’re virtually the ultimate timekillers.
Waiting can be such an exciting game!
Things can happen.
Feet can stop aching.
Night can fall.
And you can abuse or be abused.

Lets hope Godot will never show up!

Vladimir:
Suppose we repented.
Estragon:
Repented what?
Vladimir:
Oh… We wouldn’t have to go into the details.
Estragon:
Our being born?

In Waiting for Godot the fundamental absurdity of the human existence is described in a poignant and painful way. The two main characters, kind of vagrants, are trapped in a circle of ever returning trivialities. The waiting for Godot – academics can’t seem to agree if he symbolizes God or not – forms the most important activity in the play. Waiting but not being able to go anywhere, to want something but being perpetually stuck, anguish and a continued focus on strengthening the feeling of fear and emptiness. Their pasts are an unclear mess of what is real and what is fantasy (and one of the duo has a chronic memory problem) and they are not in any state to imagine a representation of the future.

Beckett was the first to bring that feeling of permanent fear and loss of ideals of the post-war human to the stage so poignantly without losing his (sometimes pitch-black) sense of humor in the process. This humor manifests itself in the, sometimes vaudeville-esque, passages; in sharp text and the contrasts between the characters of Vladimir and Estragon (who sometimes remind us of a sort of Laurel and Hardy).

Cast

Herman Duchenne as Vladimir
Ivo Richaers as Estragon
Ed Balsters as Pozzo
Ruud van der Zalm as Lucky
Julia Lintelo as Miss Boy
Jan Kees in ‘t Veld as CEO@GO.com

The audiovisual installation was made by Jules Stoop

Mariken van Nieumeghen

2005 – 2006

performed in Middle Dutch
Director: Arne Sybren Postma

Homerostheater chose the medieval text Mariken van Niemeghen to be performed in the old Middle Dutch language. We have a long history of performing theater classics in their original languages (Homer, Molière, Brecht, and Pinter). This play was our first production of a medieval theater classic from Dutch history that was performed entirely in Middle Dutch.

Why sell your soul to evil? What is evil these days? Choosing evil makes you guilty, but if you have no other choice than evil, are you still guilty? And is pure remorse enough to receive forgiveness?

Mariken van Niemeghen is a text that does not get performed often anymore, and certainly not in Middle Dutch. The story of a young girl, that goes shopping for her uncle in Nijmegen, ends up on the street due to awful treatment at the hands of her aunt and subsequently sells her soul to the devil, doesn’t seem to inspire many contemporary theater makers. Homerostheater however does see inspiring themes that even now, maybe especially now, will appeal to a diverse audience.

The Mariken as it has been given to us, is based on an old medieval Maria story, meaning the a dramatised version of a miracle tale in which the Mother of God sets about the salvation of our main character. As such it can be seen as a mirror to the religious life in the Netherlands in around 1500 AD. In the christian faith of the middle ages the temporary was seen in the frame of the eternal. Life on earth was the principle factor in what would come after: heavenly bliss or eternal damnation.
This does not mean that the Mariken is a singularly pious text; the story is not only set in a city, against typical tapestries of life such as an inn, the market square, a monastery, but also during the weekly market. The exchanges are peppered with daily expressions, at times razor sharp, fast and funny, with a unique tone for every character. So one can speak of real people. The inn scene features ravenous drinking and flirting. Medieval audiences loved such scenes and why would today’s audiences be any different? All these aspects of the Mariken were done justice in this version by homerostheater.

We kept closely to the original text, using the scientific text edition by Bart Ramakers (Prometheus/Bert Bakker, 1998). The meter and rhyme are an enrichment to the language, and we treated the rhetorical poetry with the utmost care; the precise use of the text strengthened the understanding as also the dramatic aspect.
The choice in style was driven by the medieval text and the “visual character of the spirit of the late middle ages” (Johan Huizenga, Herfstij der Middeleeuwen, 1919). By all means we did aspired to find passion and a childlike nature; there should be no doubts about the motives of a character, for then the model function of a character would collapse.

To stay as close as possible to the ambiance and feeling of the middle ages setting, we performed the piece as much as possible in churches in the Netherlands. Schools were also open to invite us to perform, in auditoriums or theaters.

The Mariken was performed in churches in The Hague, Utrecht, Groningen, and Nijmegen, and at schools in Zeist, Hilversum, and Almelo.

Cast

Julia Lintelo as Mariken
Sebo Boerma as Moenen
Corné Versteegh as Uncle Ghijsbrecht
Manon Waterreus as Moeye, Ons Lieve Vrouwe
Ruud van der Zalm as Devil, God, Percussion
Jan Kees in ‘t Veld as Masscheroen
Niels Klok as Borgher, Pope
Mels Kroon as Deen Gheselle
Rianne Hartemink as Dander Gheselle
Herman Duchenne as White Angel
Coca Román van Dongen as Narrator-Angel, Harp

Andromache & Neoptolemos from De Troje Trilogie

2004

Author: Koos Terpstra
Director: Ivo Richaers
& Arne Sybren Postma

The only way to live is to trust in other people.
A man and a woman have a child. Simple?
Not if you consider that Neoptolemos and Andromache were once sworn enemies. That Neoptolemos is Greek, and Andromache a Trojan. That Andromache, once a princess, wife, and mother, is now his slave. That Neoptolemos had a hand in the death of her first child. That Neoptolemons is going to take another bride – Hermione – and he’s going to travel, leaving Andromache behind with the new bride. Or that Hermione’s father is Menelaos. Greek, father, and war hero?

I hope you realise I could kill you.

With De Troje Trilogie Koos Terpstra gave his perspective on the aftermath of the Trojan war. But honestly? It could have been any other war. Because the questions are always the same: How do you go on after a war? What is an enemy? How do you put aside all the horrors you have witnessed? Why would you pick yourself back up and go on living after witnessing all that misery?
Homerostheater looked to Andromache & Neoptolemos for the answers.

Neoptolemos

You are no longer a woman. You are no longer human. You can be forgiven for having nothing left, but that you are nothing is unforgivable.

Cast

Martje Zwierstra as Andromache
Niels Klok as Neoptolemos

Andromache

“Bad things don’t happen to innocent people!”

Cast

Ilse Crooy as Andromache
Judith Amsenga as Hermione
Ruud van der Zalm as Neoptolemos and Slave
Jan Kees in ‘t Veld as Menelaos and Peleus

The Hothouse

2003

Author: Harold Pinter
Director: Arne Sybren Postma

Performing for the first time in English in 2003, homerostheater chose an early work by the future Nobel prizewinner Harold Pinter.

Between ourselves, man to man, you’re not by any chance taking the old wee-wee out of me, are you?

Roote, The Hothouse

Pinter is considered one of the premier representatives of modern English theater. Although he was strongly influenced by absurdism (most notably Beckett) he does have a style of his own. Where absurdism revolves around the existential fears of humanity on an abstract level, Pinter concerns himself more with every day situations in which the fear suddenly becomes the major driving force. He is mostly interested in how people intimidate each other and how they exert power over one another. That the integrity of the individual takes a back seat in these situations is something he illustrates with extreme clarity.

The Hothouse (1958) is one of Pinter’s earlier works, and certainly by any understanding a very humorous piece.
The play is set in an institution known only as the rest house, whose nature is subject to interpretation, during Christmas. Long, hollow sounding hallways. Snow… The heating set to full blast and no one seems to be able to turn it down.
Roote, the director, is confronted by the death of a patient and another patient is in labor. In his search to find the guilty parties the boss finds his position of authority slipping away like sand through his fingers. Panic ensues, even bureaucrats are wildlings when push comes to shove.

Cast

Steve Searcy as Mutter Roote
Niels Klok as Gibbs
Ruud van der Zalm as Lamb
Manon Waterreus as Miss Cutts
Thomas Gerkrath as Lush
Jaap Parqui as Tubb
Victorija Ceginskas as Lobb