Aug 12-14, 16-21, 23-28 11.30pm
Following the huge success of the three previous seasons at Summerhall, Big in Belgium, Richard Jordan Productions, Summerhall and Theatre Royal Plymouth return to present a fourth BIG IN BELGIUM at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe – featuring some of the most significant theatre companies from the Flemish part of Belgium.
Edinburgh favourites Ontroerend Goed present their latest production, World Without Us at Summerhall from 3 August (press from 5 August). We could hardly imagine it; no mortgages, no knitting scarves, no swimming pools, no butterfly strokes and no honey kept in glass bowls. Animals would no longer be stuffed, skyscrapers no longer built, no more suicide and no mathematics. There would be no more talk about the old days, about what’s possible. There would be no words. It would never happen. We’d find a solution. A world without us.
Multiple Fringe First award winners OntroerendGoed return to Edinburgh with their new piece about the end of humanity and what comes after.
What was the inspiration for this performance?
The powerlessness I sometimes feel when dealing with and caring for what’s happening in the world today.
And then it seems hard to see the beauty of us, humans.
But there is, there is an abundance of it between humans themselves and the world around us.
And just as when you miss somebody close,
experiencing a time without him or her can remind you of the importance of that person.
Even though you realise it when they’re close, it can be a good reminder, a moment to redefine it.
How did you go about gathering the team for it?
Karolien is part of the artistic team of OG and looked forward to play a monologue
and Valentijn we have worked with in the past and has a unique experience with being alone on stage.
Babette, our main technician, is amazing with light and Jeroen a master in sound.
The final piece of the puzzle came when I met Renato Nicolodi, who made the sculpture for the play,
a visual artist whose work seamlessy fitted with the topic of the show.
How did you become interested in making performance?
In retrospect I could guess the immediacy and live experience of the art form spoke to me.
But there was just this emotional drive to occupy the stage, to completely use this platform and discover all its elements that could speak directly to people.
Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?
From the very beginning the content and form decide which path to follow.
And with this one I felt I had to start over again. Even though it seems so simple, a pure form of storytelling,
I felt we had to discover so many new aspects.
Research was an essential part, we had amazing talks with professors from universities, because we wanted to be right.
But then again we had to throw away so many of our research because it was so important that the audience engaged on more than just a scientific level.
And then there was the question of emotion. How do you tell a story you’re not part of.
The act of imagining a story without humans is the only thing that’s real. The paradox fucks up your mind sometimes. But a world without us has no imagination.
At least not ours.
What do you hope that the audience will experience?
As with most of my shows, I cherish the openness of what an audience can experience. There is no clear answer, the question is too big.
And my personal drive for the show is just one aspect of its communication.
I wanted to give audience the opportunity to imagine a world without us with us,
and in doing so giving the opportunity to look at the world today from a different perspective.
What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
The darkness I had to compromise here in Edinburgh. Pure darkness is not possible here due to safety regulations.
But experiencing that moment in the show where everybody around you completely disappears from sight, is something I miss here in Edinburgh.
Do you see your work within any particular tradition?
Contemporary arts are always reflections on contemorary issues. When major devestating events happen close to where you live they will, without fail, penetrate your way of thinking, change the way you act and influence what you create. In a large or small way all shows in this collection show awareness of recent European history and BIG IN BELGIUM hopes to take you on a journey where you question your own points of view in light of the recent reality.