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duration 1:40
premiere 18 Sep 2009

Paolo, the father, the mother Lucia and the children Pietro and Odetta live in a fancy suburb of a big city. One day a young man appears at the house. Emilia, the housekeeper, experiences a strong reaction to his presence. Lucia also feels an attraction to the young man and she gives herself to him, as does her son Pietro. Her daughter Odetta also succumbs to the temptation. Although Paolo resists the temptation with all his might, he also yields in the end. The young man then announces his departure, leaving everyone behind in despair.

Emilia returns to her home village. Odetta tries to keep the image of the young man alive, but eventually goes catatonic. Pietro, too, tries to maintain the special relationship, but to no avail. Lucia embarks on a conquest of other young men to replace him. Emilia returns to her village where she wants nothing else but to die. She does so in a miraculous way. Paolo is enraged about what the young man has done to him and his family, but he is also unable to go on living without him.

‘Teorema depends largely on the stage directions that the actors themselves indicate. The entire im-age is very sober, making this version seem like literary theater. (…) Jacob Derwig, who plays the father, holds an impressive final monologue that is the icing on the cake of the production.’ - NRC

‘Van Hove adds extra language: the characters do not speak to one another, but rather they describe their actions in the third person. This produces a powerful effect of distance and alienation, which in-fluences their desire for the stranger, the young, charismatic actor Chico Kenzari.’ - Parool

‘Van Hove’s production is exceptionally ethical, immaculate theater about the deconstruction of a family.’ - Volkskrant

‘With a precise and uncompromising requiem, Ivo van Hove and Jan Versweyveld have succeeded in staging the famous novel and film Teorema as a metaphor for the uprooting and loss of originality and authenticity. Coal-black, that is true, and from the start seemingly hermetic, detached, literary and closed. But with a bare and compelling interpretation of the stranger, who infiltrates the family with his confounding vitality and sensuality. Van Hove holds up a magnifying glass to the soul of society.’ - Cultureel Persbureau

'Van Hove's production of Pasolini’s (…) Teorema is decidedly abstract. That’s a real confrontation, but the production really starts to develop a pulse when the characters burst out in despair after the young stranger departs. Chris Nietvelt is heartbreakingly beautiful as the mother Lucia. (…) A fascinating production.’ -

‘The stage is like an experimental arrangement, and Ivo van Hove uses it for a production which commences as a study of alienation and develops into a game of unlived passions.’ - Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

As part of the Ruhrtriennale theater festival in Bochum, director Ivo van Hove has created a stage adaptation which - with admirable rigor and consistency – as an example to highlight the attempt to escape against the will. (…) The ensemble excellently manages the transition from the initial freeze to the latter fury of passion.’ - WAZ Kultur

Ivo van Hove about Teorema

‘When Teorema starts there is order; the rich businessman’s family appears to be stable. But there is also a feeling of discomfort, boredom and general lethargy. The arrival of a mysterious stranger opens a world of repressed desires and emotions, but his visit also disturbs everything the family thought they knew about themselves. Who is this stranger? Is he a moocher, a young man who goes from house to house, sponging off those who live there? A crisis ensues, chaos reigns. The guest brings a liberation which is actually annihilation. His arrival results in destruction, no one takes responsibility for the future. The last bit of hope remaining is that something new can flourish on the ruins. For Pasolini, change is only possible if we are conscious of the crisis in which we live. Teorema demonstrates this crisis in all its complexity. He manages to tell a story of universal interest by making use of recognizable characters. A story of the human condition.’



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