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client e. busken

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duration 1:30
premiere 14 Sep 2021


Against his will, E. Busken resides in the closed ward of an elderly care facility. He feels he is treated like a toddler and refuses to speak. He surrenders to a stream of memories and observations of his fellow residents and the care staff. Is he rambling, or is he – as he claims – still of sound mind? Is he remembering real memories, or is he imagining this richly filled life?

Directorial debut by Maria Kraakman at ITA with Gijs Scholten van Aschat and Jip van den Dool, based on the novel by Jeroen Brouwers.


Ivo van Hove: 'Sometimes projects are too good to put on the back burner. When Gijs showed me this very personal story of one of the grandest contemporary novelists, I didn’t hesitate for a second. I told him: “This is something we have to do, and as soon as possible at that. We are given glimpse of what it is like to be old in this day and age”. Gijs then adapted the novel for the stage. And things got even better when we learned that Maria was prepared to make her debut as a director with this play'.

Maria Kraakman: 'It is a fate that awaits most of us: we get old, our bodies deteriorate, we slowly become isolated and have to rely on strangers for care, waiting for the inevitable end… Thank goodness we have Jeroen Brouwers! He has created a festive and razor-sharp monument of language, that manages to keep even death at bay, comforts us and makes us laugh, and shows us that, in the realm of our thoughts, we are truly free. I am delighted that we have been given the opportunity to give shape to this universe of the mind that is Cliënt E. Busken.'

Gijs Scholten van Aschat: 'When I was reading this book, I immediately saw the potential for making this into a play. The main character, E. Busken, is no longer able to do anything. Everything has been taken from him, all he has left are his thoughts, which he shares with us. He is in the final stage of his life, in which reality, dreams, and memories become indistinguishable from one another. This edifice of language is what we get mixed up in. Jeroen Brouwers has, to quote E. Busken, “an almost religious sense of language, with a variety of words akin to a flower garden". When I was adapting the book, this made me crave the addition of music. To escape the language for a bit. But also to get closer to the main character, through the music of his youth. In this play, I hope to combine my two great loves in my profession. Language and Music. For the mind and the heart'.

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