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the fountainhead

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director ivo van hove
from ayn rand
duration circa 4:00, incl. 1 pauze
premiere 15 Jun 2014

The Fountainhead is the fascinating portrait of the brilliant young architect Howard Roark, who follows his calling and sets himself up against those who spinelessly parrot the views of others; of Peter Keating, a fellow architect who sells his soul for commercial success and public esteem; of Guy Francon, a traditionalist who uncritically copies architecture from the past; and of the intellectual Ellsworth Toohey, who manipulates public opinion while slyly grooming the masses for a socialist takeover.

‘The theme of my novel', said Ayn Rand, 'is the struggle between individualism and collectivism, not in the political arena but in the human soul. My aim in writing The Fountainhead was always to present a novel whose protagonist embodies the ideal man.’ That man is Howard Roark, a creative artist who, like a sun, is surrounded by less talented and easily influenced characters who envy him his genius and vocation. But equally, The Fountainhead is the story of the struggle between two lovers: between Roark and the beautiful, idealistic and uncompromising Dominique Francon – two likeminded spirits determined never to sacrifice their own liberty or autonomy.

Some were looking forward to it and some were skeptical: Ivo van Hove would be staging Ayn Rand’s controversial novel of ideas The Fountainhead. Should this provocative story written by the inspiration of right-wing America be staged at all? At the premiere at the Holland Festival in 2014, both the audience and the press were lost for superlatives to express what they saw.

'Van Hove puts on stage the philosophical storm surrounding the collective and the individual. He provides a fresh and complex rereading of Ayn Rand's novel, which has been in danger of becoming a one-line footnote to the neocon revolution. He also creates electrifying theatre in which word and spectacle find a perfect, symbiotic balance.' - The Guardian ****

'The Fountainhead (La Source Vive) offre quatre heures sans temps morts, absolument captivantes, qui vous embarquent et vous questionnent comme aucun autre spectacle jusque-là dans cette édition d'Avignon.' - Le Monde

'Surtout, Ivo Van Hove réussit de façon magistrale son adaptation de la Source vive, roman polémique de l’Americaine Ayn Rand. Merveille d’intelligence scénique, son spectacle laisse ouverts tous les débats.' - Libération

‘Ivo van Hove created a masterful construction. History is written here, for four hours on end.’ - Jury Theaterfestival 2015

‘A masterpiece’ - de Volkskrant ****

‘Formidable performance’ - NRC Handelsblad ****

Ivo van Hove about The Fountainhead

‘When I first read the novel the characters gripped me, each and every one of them humans of flesh and blood, and at the same time they are larger than life. They are symbols for ideas of grandeur: There’s the brilliant architect Howard Roark who follows his own ideals and dreams of a new world, a city of tomorrow. And then there’s Peter Keating, his colleague who constantly compromises and adapts his designs to fit the market’s demands. The battle between Roark and his adversaries is bloodcurdlingly well written.

To me, The Fountainhead is a war of ideas. The great question the book poses: What is creation? What does it mean to create? And what is integrity in the process of creating? The novel is set in the milieu of architects in Twenties New York, where the battle between modernism and classicism raged, but even today its questioning of creation is one that plays in our minds: The balance between the commercial and the innovative, the market and pure expression. Rand uses the architect’s world as a metaphore to discuss art, engagement, individualism and autonomy. But The Fountainhead is also a love story that tinkers at the edges of decency. A relentless love develops between Howard Roark and Dominique Francon, that shows the hardships of giving yourself wholly to another while maintaining your own integrity. At a certain point Roark states: ‘I could die for you, but I couldn’t and wouldn’t live for you.’ It is an engaging, addictive novel that was begging to be staged.'





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