Three silly little men of flesh and blood

Diderot is on the table, two thick volumes on top of a treatise on the phenomenon of 'trompe l'œil' and a number of other books. This leaning and unsteady tower is doomed to collapse – in fact, everything falls over all the time during this piece called vandeneedevandeschrijvervandekoningendiderot .

Diderot, or rather his Paradoxe sur le comédien , was the starting point of the performance that also bears the names of its adapters and actors Peter Van den Eede (De Koe), Damiaan De Schrijver (STAN) and Matthias de Koning (Discordia). Discoursing on the implications of this eighteenth-century essay the actors offer their audience an hilarious two hours' worth. Despite all the silliness they always return very cleverly to the crux of the matter: the essence of acting, the actor's function and all the truths and misconceptions on these subjects.

The three comedians (whose performance was selected for the 'Theaterfestival' in September) are well matched. They scoff at each other, pull in or reject each other and plot in ever changing configurations between the extravagant fat fellow (De Schrijver) and the two thin men  - one of them quite imperturbable (Van den Eede), the other one rather awkward. While trying to explain and (even more) to show what a good actor is they end up trapped in their own theories, in their experiences and, in fact, in their surroundings.

When putting wigs on each other's heads they almost poke out their colleagues' eyes; when reaching for a prop they clumsily trip over all the others, like three silly little men in a cramped junk shop. They constantly corner each other, with words as well as with whatever else comes to hand: tables, a bunch of walking sticks, a set of decanters and bottles of vodka, while the scenery sways perilously overhead.

One of them always has his lines within hand's reach, to the annoyance of the other two – until they need him as a prompter. Everything is fake, that's what they're saying; on stage nothing is what it seems: the plastic feast, the whisky decanter filled with tea, 'blood' spurting from a crushed capsule. And yet these are men of flesh and blood, sweating in their heavy suits with their half-powdered heads, knowing exactly what they want to get at through Denis Diderot's rich text. The actor's craft is truly wonderful.

de Volkskrant, Karin Veraart, June 20, 2002