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a bride in the morning

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duration 2:00
premiere 05 Oct 2014

Hugo Claus’ first full-length drama Een bruid in de morgen (‘A bride in the morning’) is written with all the urgency of a true cri-de-coeur. It is a morality tale in which we watch as a family is torn apart.

The father, Pattijn, is a former music teacher whose dream is to write a concerto that will make him world famous. His wife fantasizes about marrying a wealthy nobleman. Their daughter Andrea dotes on her brother Thomas, who is a ‘simple soul’. She dreams of taking him to visit London Zoo one day. The family’s uneventful life is severely disrupted by the arrival of cousin Hilda, whom the parents see as a potential wife for Thomas. Hilda is rich; as ‘a bride in the morning’, she holds the keys to their future. She quickly drives a wedge between Thomas and his sister, and one by one dispels all the other hopes and ambitions that the family cherish.

'You are like a panther with sharp fangs and an angry heart,' she is told. 'You pounce upon everyone and you rip them to shreds.' Claus’s use of language is remarkable. His florid sentences create a sensuous world of simmering shamelessness and secret longing, a world in which love is sacrificed to material desires and the innocence of youth is brought to an abrupt end. Een bruid in de morgen is an early masterpiece by one of the greatest figures in Dutch and Flemish literature. Claus forcefully demonstrates how poverty and exclusion can leave lasting scars on the lives of the less fortunate members of society.

Maren E. Bjørseth about A bride in the morning

'Een bruid in de morgen is about a family in which everyone is simply trying to survive, through good times and bad, sometimes at each other’s expense. The cynicism of the parents is in stark contrast to the apparent innocence of the children, who retreat into their own fantasy world. It is marvellous how Claus, with his poetic language and sheer musicality, helps us to evoke the illusions and dreams which make their drab existence bearable. But even this fantasy world has an insuperable boundary, a simmering suspicion of incestuous lust. Claus constantly sets desires against inescapable reality, the children’s flights of fantasy against the grim reality of the adults. I am particularly drawn by the way in which he shows that imagination can provide an escape, but that it also has darker layers which create confusion and angst. This play is brimming with compassion and poetry, yet it is also deeply disturbing.'

Norwegian director Maren Elisabeth Bjørseth (b. 1984) made a name for herself in 2012 with Een Poppenhuis, her graduation production for the Amsterdam Theaterschool. It is a radical reworking of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, at once both playful and structured. She went on to direct the intriguing Helling (Carl Frode Tiller), Ten Liefde (Ko van den Bosch) and Geloof Liefde Hoop (Ödon von Horváth) for Frascati Producties, thus confirming her unique talent. Bjørseth focuses on works which show ‘little people in a big world’, applying an absurdist style and an abstract form which transcend realism. She has opted to direct in both Norway and the Netherlands because this gives her the opportunity to discover the advantages of each country’s theatrical culture. At home in Norway she is soon to direct Arthur Schnitzler’s Reigen and will return to Frascati in the autumn of 2015 with Kasimir en Karoline by Von Horváth.

ta-2 / Frascati

Een bruid in de morgen is Bjørseth’s debut with TA-2, the platform for emerging directorial talent run by Frascati Producties in association with Toneelgroep Amsterdam. Within Toneelgroep Amsterdam’s platform for the development of directing talents, TA-2 and Frascati produced Rashomon-effect, directed by Joachim Robbrecht and Blood Wedding by Julie Van den Berghe. A bride in the morning will be the third collaboration in the multiannual partnership aimed for a step-by-step development of the director’s trade. In this relationship both partners deploy their expertise, and works within larger organisations are the central aim.




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