War and Turpentine

Needcompany (BE)

With the Belgian Needcompany one of Europe’s most legendary dance and theatre companies comes to HELLERAU for the first time. The Belgian group founded by Jan Lauwers and Grace Ellen Barkey has been working at the interface between dance, theatre, music and performance for over 30 years. The new production “War and Turpentine” uniquely and impressively interweaves the reflection on human fates in the catastrophic 20th century with the great question of how art and society are connected. She thus shows an impressive vision of the power of art and the theatre itself.

Shortly before his death in the 1980s, Stefan Hertmans’ grandfather gave his grandson a few old exercise books in which he had documented his life. It was marked by an impoverished childhood before 1900 in Ghent, terrible experiences as a soldier on the front during the First World War and a great love that died young. Jan Lauwers presents a personal vision of the book with the Belgian Needcompany and takes up the story of Stefan Hertmans to create an intense fable about the progress of industrialization, the violence of the Great War, love, happiness, grief and the secrets of human life.

The main actress is the Belgian actress Viviane De Muynck, who received the Flemish “Ultima Award” in March 2018 for her cultural merits. Friends* of the successful NDR series “Tatortreiniger”, she is known as a barkeeper in the episode “Tauschgeschäfte”. Besides De Myunck and the dancers* of the Needcompany the musicians Alain Franco, Simon Lenski and George van Dam are on stage as a classical string trio with a newly composed music by Rombout Willems.

“The stage images – the organization of space, movement, costumes – everything was thought-through to the last detail. Sometimes they illustrate things literally, and at times they employ metaphor.” Anna Solak, kultura.poznan.pl

“The plays of this year’s Malta Idiom showed the instability of the modern world, its fragility, the difficult experiences brought upon human existence by history and the helplessness associated with that fact. At the same time it spoke of the (im)possibility of adaptation and acceptance of what is inevitable.”, Agata Wittchen-Barełkowska, kulturaupodstaw.pl

The Needcompany is on tour with their productions worldwide. The director and founder of the Needcompany Jan Lauwers was awarded the Golden Lion for his life’s work at the Biennale Venice 2014. This year Jan Lauwers was also invited as co-curator to the Malta Festival in Poznań/Poland, where, in addition to an exhibition of current productions, he has also compiled the series “Idiom” with various international artists* under the title “Leap of Faith”.

German premiere | English with German surtitles | Party afterwards on 14.09. | Audience discussion following on 15.09. together with Paul Plamper

Duration: approx. 2 hours, without break

Director: Jan Lauwers, based on the novel “Vorlog en terpentijn” by Stefan Hertmans
Music: Rombout Willems
Actors: Viviane De Muynck, Benoit Gob, Grace Ellen Barkey, Sarah Lutz, Romy Louise Lauwers, Elik Niv, Maarten Seghers, Mohamed Toukabri, Alain Franco, Simon Lenski, George von Dam
Light: Ken Hioco
Dramaturgy: Elke Janssens
Costume: Lot Lemm
Sound: Dries D´Hondt
Production Management: Marjolein Demey
Paintings/Drawings: Benoît Gob
German supertitles: Pascal Bovée

The original edition “Oorlog en terpentijn” by Stefan Hertmans was published in 2013 by De Bezige Bij. German supertitled version based on the German translation by Ira Wilhelm with kind permission of the Approval of the Hanser Verlag.

A production of Needcompany.
Co-production: Toneelhuis (Antwerp), Festival de Marseille and the Province of West Flanders.

Produced with the support of the Belgian tax administration and the Flemish authorities.

An event within the framework of Bündnisses internationaler Produktionshäuser supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.