the things that pass
premiere 16 Sep 2016
This coproduction with Toneelhuis and the Ruhrtriënnale will be created at the Ruhrtriënnale in September and will be performed in Amsterdam from December onwards.
Directing The hidden force, Ivo van Hove got rid of the image that had been stuck to Couperus since the 1970s. Not a costume drama in The Hague, no tempo dulu (the good old days). But he did get straight to the core of this visionary novel: the culture of the west, irreconcilable with that of the east.
The second project is based on the majestic psychological novel Old people and the things that pass (1906). Couperus imagined an ‘appalling and dreadful tragedy’. We see how a hushed-up murder of passion in the Dutch East Indies continues to have a devastating influence on the family of the elderly Ottilie and Takma. The hushing up of their adulterous relationship and the murder of Ottilie’s husband leave deep traces in the consecutive generations, who are trapped in an unresolved past.
Lot and Elly are the youngest members of this doomed family. They hope to be able to free themselves from the stranglehold of The Hague, but arrive back home disillusioned after their honeymoon in Italy. There is no escaping this family that is damaged by horrible secrets that should never become known.
Just like in The hidden force, Couperus shows that he is far ahead of his time. He paints the portrait of a modern family that does not cohere and is literally spread out to all the corners of the world. The family members struggle with their lustfulness, their faith, dreams of material happiness and mutual jealousy. A family where almost nobody dares to give in to their deepest wishes and desires, to be who they really are.
Ivo van Hove about The things that pass
‘Hasn’t the family lasted long enough? That is the lamentation of Lot in The things that pass. At the end, sick and tired of a life that hasn’t been lived, he comes to a shocking conclusion: ‘A different time will come. A different generation. A time will come when people leave each other, torment each other, and still think it can’t be otherwise, that it is fine, because it is what needs to happen.’ In Louis Couperus’s The Hague, it is impossible to follow your real desires, impossible to be yourself. It is a world of wandering men and women in a prison-like society. A large choir. A swansong. Couperus rouses us. This world needs to be changed!’