The Power of Theatrical MadnessJAN FABRE
Jan Fabre (born 1958) is a theatre and opera director, a choreographer, a performance and visual artist and a playwright. In his work he relies on intuition and instinct. His theatre shows are inspired by his experience in performance art. This is demonstrated by the attention he pays to the actors' physical expression. He has shown his works at the Venice Biennale and Documenta in Kassel, as well as numerous dance and theatre festivals worldwide, including Avignon where, in 2005, he was artiste-associé, an associated artist with influence on the festival programme. In 1986 he founded the creative association Troubleyn which supports his projects.
The Power of Theatrical Madness is a recording of one of Jan Fabre's first shows, De macht der theaterlijke dwaasheden (1984). The show's central theme is Andersen's tale, The Emperor's New Clothes. Fabre, like the child who exposes the emperor's nudity in the story, uncovers the very thing that has defined theatre for a very long time: illusion. Studied poses, gestures overflowing with form and sublime music take theatrical illusion to its limits and, by doing so, go beyond it. Fabre plays with risk: a knife, dead frogs and swooning naked bodies which become radiant as they reach the verge of collapsing, are to make the viewer feel tense and uncertain, as well as fascinated and revolted. Their goal is to strike, to captivate and to involve. However, repetition, which is Fabre's creative strategy, inflects the illusion and reveals the theatrical trick.
Director/choreography/scenography: Jan Fabre
Assistant/dramaturgy: Maart Veldman
Text: Jan Fabre, 1984
Composition: Wim Mertens
Music: Richard Wagner, Richard Strauss, Othmar Schoeck
Light design: Jan Fabre
Costume design: Pol Engels
Actors/dancers/singers: Ingrid Dalmeyer, Els Deceukelier, Marion Delforge, Marc Hallemeersch,
Roberto de Jonghe, Erwin Kokkelhoren, Katinka Maes,Annamirl Van der Pluym, David Riley, Werner Strouven, Dirk Meylaerts, Peter De Smet, Peter Janssens
Production: Project 3, Antwerp/Stichting Mickery Workshop, Amsterdam/
Premiere: Goldoni Theatre, Venice, 11.06.1984