Irritation transfer

STAN delivers a tirade of abuse in blijf / weg

There's a good deal of play-acting going on in the STAN ménage. The contradiction is that actor Frank Vercruyssen and actress Tine Embrechts have to be on exactly the same wavelength for the vehement tirade of abuse in blijf / weg .

STAN begins in customary style: bare set, auditorium lights on, and Embrechts and Vercruyssen observing the space in silence. They are looking for a new home; they believe in the future. But the squabbling soon sets in: is the other person really saying what he/she thinks? And where will the bed go? By way of compromise, the mattress ends up in the middle. Fast-forward seven years: she wants a divorce, he doesn't, the middle ground is suffering.

What follows is a verbal boxing match, a succession of reproaches based on the Greek writer Thanassis Valtinos' domestic brawl Plumes de bécasse . In terms of content this marital bickering shows little depth, but that is not a priority: what is said is not important, just as long as the other person doesn't have the last word. Actors Vercruyssen, who complains about his "listless bedspread", and Embrechts, who counters every reproach with "son-of-a-bitch", give it their all. And it is no easy feat to put across a script based on repetition and triviality.

Identifying easily with a marital row, the audience has a whale of a time, but STAN does not let up. The irritation between the couple spreads to the audience who, tired of the war of words, begins to think: then get a divorce, for heaven's sake!  That is what is strange about blijf / weg : Vercruyssen and Embrechts enact the ménage à deux so convincingly that the audience eventually turns against the play.

Knack, Liv Laveyne, December 3rd 2008