T: I'm afraid I haven't.
L: How do you know?
T: I'm still alive.
(Gerardjan Rijnders, Pick-Up , 1986)
The Dutch theatre maker and author Gerardjan Rijnders is unquestionably one of the most important dramatists in the Low Countries.
In 1995 the two actors, Sara De Roo and Guy Dermul, staged one of his older texts: Pick-Up (1986). As a result Gerardjan Rijnders wrote a sequel specially for them, entitled Cancer . De Roo and Dermul performed this new text together with Pick-Up in 1996.
Their common fascination with Rijnders' contemporary and fragmented writing style remained and inspired them to carry on with a third text in 2003, again written specially for them. In 'zien en zien' ( 'seeing and seeing' ), the actors share the stage with - alternately - a viola player (Paul De Clerck), a pianist (Alain Franco), a saxophone player (Eric Morel) and a guitarist (John Parish).
'voir et voir' , the French version of 'zien en zien' , was premiered in the autumn of 2005 during the Festival d'Automne in Paris.
Rijnders pared down script, the outstanding acting, the obvious presence of the musician: everything is so intelligently and clearly put together that as a spectator you find yourself disappearing into the heads of the characters. And through their heads, you look into your own fantasies.
In terms of theme and atmosphere this play is reminiscent of Marguerite Duras La Musica II . As 'zien en zien' evolves, the more the characters speak in their silence and the more their speech smothers their sorrow with silence. The audience is kept outside their world and draws its own conclusions about what was or might be. 'Zien en zien' uncovers the semiotics of failed relationships. If the play sometimes chokes on emptiness, it also has the audiences imagination gasping for air.
The play 'zien en zien' is almost abstract. The only action comes from the language and the music. A man and a woman reach out to each other: fighting worn patterns which have their roots in a long and distant past. Little by little the pain they share is revealed and at last we can guess what it is. Together they suffered an unbearable loss. The musician fills us in: his saxophone wails it out. Each evening the actors, who perform brilliantly, are accompanied by a different musician. Together they provide a subtle theatrical gem which evocatively conveys the inability of would-be lovers to establish a relationship.
a performance by and with Sara De Roo and Guy Dermul
live music by (alternately)
Paul De Clerck, Alain Franco, Eric Morel or John Parish
set and lighting design Thomas Walgrave
costumes An D'Huys
French translation Anne Vanderschueren
production tg STAN and Dito'Dito (KVS)
coproducers French version Théâtre de la Bastille and Festival d'Automne (Paris)
premiere 12 December 2003, Kaaitheater, Brussels
premiere French version 24 November 2005, Théâtre de la Bastille/Festival d'Automne, Paris