by Jeroen Olyslaegers

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The 2008 archive

Guy Cassiers


Wolfskers © Christophe Raynaud de Lage / Festival d'Avignon


From his graphic arts studies, Guy Cassiers has retained the desire to make images, using all the new media and in particular video. Preferring to work on literary adaptations, he has travelled through the works of Marguerite Duras, Salman Rushdie, Marcel Proust and Jeroen Brouwers. In atypical venues, with actors, plastic artists and scenographers, he has created shows, between the Netherlands and Flemish Belgium, whose centre of gravity is often memory. Director of the RO Theater of Rotterdam from 1998 to 2006, he was appointed director, in 2006, of the Toneelhuis in Antwerp, which he runs with six creators whom he chose, including Benjamin Verdonck and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, also invited to the Festival d'Avignon this year. Guy Cassiers presented Sunken Red by Jeroen Brouwers in 2006 and Mefisto for ever by Tom Lanoye in 2007 at the Festival d'Avignon.

Jeroen Olyslaegers was a film critic, radio chronicler and actor. He now writes plays.
A playwright at the Toneelhuis, Erwin Jans teaches at the university, runs the review Freespace Nieuwzuid and publishes in various periodicals.
A novelist, poet, lecturer, columnist and playwright, Tom Lanoye fights against the corruption of minds in a region where the extreme right is a genuine danger. He became known through his adaptation of Shakespeare's tragedies in a single play. He has recently written Mamma Medea, Fort Europa and Mefisto for ever.

In Wolfskers, the second part of his “Triptych of Power”, Guy Cassiers, after the first part, Mefisto for ever, takes his inspiration from three scripts by the Russian film-maker Alexander Sokurov: Taurus, Moloch and The Sun. A particular day in the life of three particular men, three symbols of absolute power that crushes individuals: Lenin, Hitler and Hirohito. The first, weakened, awaits Stalin to attempt one last time to deprive him of his succession; the second, waiting for his favourite artist, the architect Albert Speer, at the moment of his first defeats in Russia; Hirohito, the emperor-god of Japan, awaiting the American general MacArthur, the day after Hiroshima... Three men who wanted to incarnate a people, three living myths who succeeded in dramatizing their life to become heroes supposed to attain immortality. It is at the moment when power is crumbling, at the moment when powerlessness emerges that they are presented to us, surrounded by those close to them. They hold forth on the future of “their” world without realizing that they have become prisoners of their fantasies. Everything begins to split apart, lethargy creeps over them, power acting as a slow-release poison, this “belladonna” (wolfskers in Flemish) leads them to destruction. Guy Cassiers is a master at creating this atmosphere of dereliction, loss of self, by putting his talented actors at the centre of a fascinating set and videographic construction that is extraordinarily effective as it allows us to be both in the present of the actions and in the mental universe of the protagonists.


mise en scène: Guy Cassiers
compositeur: Dominique Pauwels
adaptation du texte d'après Yuri Arabov et Alexandre Sokourov: Jeroen Olyslaegers, Guy Cassiers, Erwin Jans
encadrement textuel: Tom Lanoye
avec: Gilda De Bal, Vic De Wachter, Veerle Eyckermans, Johan Leysen, Marc Van Eeghem, Dries Vanhegen, Jos Verbist, Michael Vergauwen
musiciens: Rik Vercruysse (cor), Gorny Constantin (basso profundo)
dramaturgie: Erwin Jans
concept esthétique, scénographie: Enrico Bagnoli, Diederik De Cock, Arjen Klerkx
création écrans de vidéo: Peter Missotten/De Filmfabriek
vidéo: Lef Spincemaille
costumes: Tim Van Steenbergen
production déléguée: Toneelhuis


production: Toneelhuis, coproduction LOD
avec le soutien: des autorités flamandes et de la Ville d'Anvers

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