by d'après Jean Racine

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The 2004 archive

Luk Perceval / Het Toneelhuis


Andromak © Bellamy / Festival d'Avignon


Luk Perceval
Luk Perceval, director of Het Toneelhuis (“The Stage House”) in Antwerp, is one of the key figures in the “Flemish New Wave” of the 1980s. He explores an enchanting theatre of ritual and spiritual renewal. Shakespeare, Chekhov, Cervantès, Racine: the repertory playwrights he adapts and concentrates into their quintessence are all explorers of the human soul. A desire to question our existential solitude leads Luk Perceval to invent theatre that is obvious and mysterious at the same time, sparse and silent. He is about to join the Schaubühne in Berlin as Associate Artist.

On a hugely divine and cold marble altar, five characters engage in a fight that has them wavering between dignity and impudence. A blind hero, a captive heroine, an abandoned lover, a remorseful parricidal son orphaned by the Battle of Troy – here, Racine's characters have been stripped of their versification. A far cry from the conventions of classical theatre, this play deals with the story behind the story. The story then of Andromache, the deposed Trojan whose city has been conquered, Hector's widow and captive of Prince Pyrrhus. Hermoine – betrothed to Orestes – covets Pyrrhus. For the love of Andromache, Pyrrhus is prepared to defy the people of Greece. Hermione is sorely hurt; Orestes, a puppet in the hands of revenge and Andromache, evaporated by the force of her fidelity. The tremendous sound of breaking bottles echoes the scorched soul of a spurned lover, the shards of glass poking up from the floor physically threaten the actors perched on the altar. The immobility of the actors who are in a constant state of imbalance accentuates the dramatic tension. The play is conceived as a bas-relief, staged like a living work of art and this standard of Racinian drama revisited, is punctuated with deafening silences interrupted by razor-sharp repliques. Luk Perceval exhales universal feelings in an implacable palace revolution born out of the rubble of a mythical war which he considers as the matrix for all the conflicts in the West, past and present.


stage direction Luk Perceval / Het Toneelhuis
text : Peter Perceval, Luk Perceval
cast : Gilda De Bal, Tom Dewispelaere, Koen van Kaam, Peter Seynaeve, Ariane van Vliet
french translation : Géraud Didier, Monique Nagielkopf
dramaturg : Géraud Didier, Jan van Dyck
scenography : Annette Kurz
costumes : Ilse Vandenbussche
lightning : Mark Van Denesse, Luk Perceval
assistant director : Lutje Lieven


production : Het Toneelhuis (Anvers)
avec la participation : du ministère de la Communauté flamande

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