An engaged performance in which text and movement and the use of video images (of Auschwitz) fade seamlessly into each other with eighteen STAP actors on stage. A performance that blows a hole in the myth of our own identity and take us along on the roller coaster of prejudices, stigmas and collective insanity. A stage to tell their own story but also that of other mortals. Stories from theatre literature beginning with the Greeks until now. This time we are choosing "Andorra" by Max Frisch.
It appears inevitable. And we can't ignore it anymore. Theater Stap has been giving a voice to persons with a mental handicap for the last twenty years. After performances like "de opgezette vogel" (Pirandello) and "Woyzeck" (Büchner) the artistic leader Marc Bryssinck hands the entire cast something to get their heads around again. Like before we are taking a whole year for this formidable task.
The author prefers that we don't spend to much on scenery or costumes. This made it easy for us to choose. So we are spending our money on a trip to Auschwitz. Whether you want it or not. We do find ourselves qualified to tell a little something about this. People like us were on the wrong train as well a half a century ago. And this time you get to go as well.
"Naar Andorra" played 19 times from 20 October 2007 until 22 December 2007
Director : Marc Bryssinck
Design : Johan Daenen
Costumes : Anne-Marthe Zomer
Lighting : Harry Cole
Choreografy : Klaus Jürgens
Video : Filip Lenaerts
Liesbeth De Hertog
Els Van Gils
Peter Van Lommel
Nadine Van Miert
Rik Van Raak
THE PAIN OF BEING TOLERATED
Mark Cloostermans, De Standaard, 20/10/20072007
â€œ... Theater Stap is justifiably proud to have chosen â€œNaar Andorraâ€. The performers knew hardly anything about Auschwitz, even though people like them were also put on the death trains during the war.
The director Marc Bryssinck opted for multiformity: acting, narration, a video, choreography. There is the somewhat awkward, correct play of the actors. Meaningful text fragments are projected on the rear wall. Bryssinck himself strings the scenes together with his suave narrator voice. In video fragments the characters literally wash themselves in innocence. And then there are the wordless, almost ritualistic ensemble scenes: the laying down a rail track or the giving of peace offerings to the occupier (that finally did invade).
â€œNaar Andorraâ€, because of its multiformity, is very incoherent.
Despite this the performance really affects you during its strongest scenes (the lamentations from different cultures, the painful insistent repetition of some lines). â€œNaar Andorraâ€ shows us a few distressing scenes and is ,because of this, more than just an instructive history lesson. Tolerance (sic) can, regrettably, be found in any day and age.
THEATER STAP OUTSHINES ITSELF
Dominique Piedfort, Gazet van Antwerpen, 20/10/20072007
â€œDuring the latest production of â€œNaar Andorraâ€ Theater Stap in Turnhout takes the challenge on head on. In a story where the persecution of the Jews is the central theme, Auschwitz is always lurking around the corner. In other times, in other places the mentally disabled actors would have probably shared the same faith. In short, the actors had to live up to very high expectations this time. Whether Theater Stap lived up to these expectations during the opening night, Thursday evening in their home front De Warande? With flying colours.
â€œAndorraâ€ by Swiss autor Max Frisch formed the basis for this production. In an idyllic state all tolerance is lost when Andri the Jew wants to integrate himself. The tense atmosphere only increases when the warlike and Jew hating â€˜blacksâ€™ threaten to invade Andorra.
â€œWhat is virgin white now, will be soon scarletâ€ predicts a legionnaire.
Without any prejudice you think at the start that the story would be too difficult for the cast of Theater Stap. That might be why the company not only went to the Jewish community in Antwerp to prepare themselves, but also visited Auschwitz. Immersions that certainly paid off on stage Thursday evening.
The audience hardly made any sound, occasionally an uncomfortable laugh broke the silence. Because what do you do when a cute mongol pretends to be in the SS?
Moreover, the video screens that switch between virgin white and scarlet regularly lash out at the audience with sneers like: â€œwhen it concerns money, weâ€™re all Jewsâ€. An oppressive finale reached its climax during a short documentary about their trip to Auschwitz. All that followed next, was a standing ovation. Not because it is expected at an opening night, but because it simply had to happen.