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flight 49

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duration 3:00, incl. 1 pauze
premiere 26 Sep 2020


Flight 49 brings people together after a plane crash. Strangers seek support from each other after the loss of their loved ones, friends, family members. The Australian director Simon Stone was inspired by motifs from Herman Heijermans' classic Op hoop van zegen (The good hope).

Simon Stone has cornered the market on the adaptation of established classics. He updates from the inside. For each piece, he goes in search of its inalienable core. With fast, razor-sharp, cinematic dialogue, he translates the basic problems into a conflict that plays out in our time. It gives his pieces a topical relevance. At the same time, they are a testimony to a human condition that has remained unchanged over the centuries.


Simon Stone writes his plays during the rehearsal process. The writing took Stone to a completely new text, in which he places the quintessentially Dutch classic in the 21st century. Family members and friends of passengers gather in the arrivals hall of an airport when an aircraft disappears from the radar.

Op hoop van zegen (The good hope), Herman Heijermans' play from 1900, concentrates on a fishing village. Time and time again, it has sent its fathers and sons out to sea and has learned to live with the victims and deaths that fishing on open sea demands. The families seek support and comfort from one another and conform to the destiny and will of God. "God takes us and we take the fish."

Flight 49 brings family members and friends of passengers together when their worst nightmare becomes reality and the plane with their loved ones crashes. Stone follows the relatives but also introduces the public to the victims in flashbacks. A kaleidoscopic journey takes place in the lives of dozens of men, women and children. In the last part, the relatives find each other again during a national memorial.

Stone shows how people in 2020 are fighting with fate and trying to contain anger and desperation. But he also shows moments of empathy, comfort and resilience. Recognition of what unites us all: a need for love and life as an exercise in parting. He himself calls his piece "a catalog of grief": a fragmented story in which the fragments of lives are put together in the hope of creating meaning from loss and chaos.


"At one point the theatrical reality nicely coincides with the actual space: in a memorial ceremony in the Amsterdam theater, the relatives remember their deceased relatives. Then we suddenly see how the world inside and outside the theater are intertwined. Mourning is also: trying to give form and language to abstractions while searching, impossible but necessary ".NRC

"That produces beautiful scenes - how a sullen Hans Kesting, faltering with grief, stubbornly keeps staring at the sea where his daughter has disappeared; or the soul-moving tug of war between mother Christina (Chris Nietvelt) and daughter-in-law Jo (Maria Kraakman) about whom Daniel knew best". - Volkskrant

"As the performance progresses, the stage image becomes more abstract; in time, the next of kin become more and more alienated from everyday reality. We see their memories of the deceased and how they subsequently deal with their grief. The result is beautiful emotional drama by Chris Nietvelt, Hugo Koolschijn and Maarten Heijmans, among others.” - NRC


Maarten Heijmans has been nominated for the Arlecchino for his role in Flight 49.

The Dutch Theater Jury: 'Maarten Heijmans manages to create two divergent characters who are almost diametrically opposed in their appearance. With the use of his technique and emotionality, he delivers a top performance that evokes both endearment and danger within the performance.

Heijmans shows precision and freedom. He doses the characteristics of the characters in such a way that they are recognizable without falling into templates or unambiguity. This approach connects the public with people they probably don't want to look at in real life.'

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