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magnificent take on the spectacle of politics

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Romeinse tragedies was van 17 t/m 19 maart in Londen te zien. Samen met Obsession en Na de repetitie / Persona maakt het onderdeel uit van het Londense ‘TA-season’. Het prestigieuze Barbican presenteert hiermee TA als hét model voor het repertoiregezelschap van de 21e eeuw.

TA kwam, zag en overwon. Het publiek kwam lyrische woorden te kort (lees hier de publieksreacties) en de Britse pers strooide wild met superlatieven om zich heen. Zo schrijft Dominic Maxwell in The Times 'I was, however, always absorbed, often wowed, and left with a head buzzing with ideas about elitism and populism, about the eternal need for passion and pragmatism to temper each other.', beschrijft Mark Shenton Romeinse tragedies als 'one of the greatest Shakespeare adaptations I've ever seen' (...) 'I was totally blown away – gripped by the relentless, driving theatrical intensity of the event and the bold, up-to-the-minute adaptation, which has been fashioned into a continuous story arc by the director, his translator and a three-strong team of dramaturgs.' en kopt Lyn Gardner 'Ivo van Hove's magnificent take on the spectacle of politics' in The Guardian. Hieronder kunt u haar volledige relaas lezen.

'Hans Kesting is about to give his funeral oration as Mark Antony. He stumbles towards the lectern, wild-eyed and dishevelled. He suddenly throws away his carefully prepared notes, slumps in front of the stand, loosens his tie and appears to spontaneously address the crowd. But is it an honest, grief-stricken response to the death of Julius Caesar? Or a cleverly staged, managed and calculated piece of performance designed to enhance his own political ambitions? One that is conveniently caught on camera and broadcast on screens everywhere.
It’s one of several electrifying moments in Ivo van Hove’s lean, clean, condensed six-hour version of Coriolanus, Julius Caesar, and Antony and Cleopatra which returns to the Barbican where it was first staged in 2009. My, it’s still in great shape, the ensemble playing ferocious and purposeful. Jan Versweyveld’s design reframes Barbican’s stage as a bland, modern international conference hall, complete with pot plants, screens displaying the action, news bulletins and interviews with the lead actors, and an LED displays bringing news from the outside world – reminding us that in an era of instant communication and 24-hour news it is as easy to be misinformed as well informed. Unsurprisingly, in the opening minutes some screens briefly show a clip from Donald Trump’s inauguration.

In fact van Hove’s modern-dress production – played in Dutch with English subtitles, which comes with its own guttural poetry – takes on new meaning in light of the rise of populist movements across the US and Europe. Van Hove’s masterstroke is to excise all the scenes depicting war or giving voice to the people. Instead the action is punctuated by the cacophonous clash of drums and cymbals to denote the conflicts that endlessly ensue from the strutting and decisions of leaders – mostly men in suits. It’s the audience which is cast in the role of the Rome citizens.

This implicates us, and places us as much in the show as the actors in this unfolding drama. After the first half hour of a production which comes with only the briefest of pauses and no intervals, the audience is invited to leave their seats and move around. We can loll on the sofas right at the heart of the action on stage, buy a sandwich from the onstage bar, check our emails. All as we watch, up close, Eelco Smits’ troubled Brutus failing to deal with the fallout from conspiracy, or Chris Nietvelt’s brilliant Cleopatra moving from drama queen to truly tragic figure.
If you prefer, you can stay in the auditorium, switching your perspective on the live action with every seat shift. The theatre doors remain open so you can take a break from the show. In real life we dip in and out of unfolding news, dramas and stories. We never have a complete picture but only a partial view. The LED screen proclaims imminent bloodbaths: “Five minutes to Cassius’ death; 15 minutes to Brutus’ death.” You calculate whether you can fit in a toilet break. After all, we live in an age where news has become entertainment and you wouldn’t want to miss the juicy bits.

This all might have been gimmickry were it not so intelligently and imaginatively put together. The staging constantly questions the cost to intimacy and personal relationships when they are played out in a public arena, and the acting from a crack cast lays bare tensions between private passions and political expediency. There is no escape: we are forced to contemplate the part we play in the soap opera-ish spectacle of contemporary politics.' - Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

in de pers

The Guardian - Ivo van Hove's magnificent take on the spectacle of politics ***** - 19 mrt 17
> naar de website

The Times - Theatre: Roman Tragedies at the Barbican **** - 20 mrt 17
> [download] als .pdf

Plays to see - Roman Tragedies ***** - 19 mrt 17
> naar de website

The Arts Desk - Acting becomes being in Ivo van Hove's six-hour Shakespeare epic - 18 mrt 17
> naar de website

The Stage - Ivo van Hove’s Roman Tragedies review at the Barbican Theatre, London – ‘relentless’ - 18 mrt 17
> naar de website

What's on stage - Roman Tragedies review ***** - 18 mrt 17
> naar de website

The University of Nottingham - Second view: Roman Tragedies - 20 mrt 17
> naar de website

Live Theatre UK - Roman Tragedies ***** - 20 mrt 17
> naar de website

British Theatre Guide - Roman Tragedies - 20 mrt 17
> naar de website

Broadway World - Roman Tragedies review ***** - 18 mrt 17
> naar de website

There Ought to be Clowns - Roman Tragedies review - 18 mrt 17
> naar de website

Progressive Geographies - Shakespeare’s Roman Tragedies by Toneelgroep Amsterdam at the Barbican - 20 mrt 17
> naar de website

The Panoptic - Roman Tragedies - 18 mrt 17
> naar de website



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