tg STAN gathers the world in Bergen
an interview with Frank Vercruyssen

Highly acclaimed tg STAN has gathered six nationalities for their world premiere in Bergen. The performance is more about humanity than Palestinians and Israelis, says Frank Vercruyssen.

Tomorrow is the world premiere of the tangible in studio USF. Dancers from Norway, Italy and Canada work with actors from Belgium, Syria and Palestine, against photos of Palestinian artists. "The first time I played in Bergen was 16 years ago. I've been dreaming for a long time of such an international coproduction," says tg STAN's Frank Vercruyssen. He got a green light from BIT Teatergarasjen in Bergen and from theatres in Oslo, Paris, Lisbon and Beirut.

"It started in a strange way, with dancers rather than with a text. When I saw Liz Kinoshita and Federica Porello dance, I wanted to work with them. They wondered if I also wanted to work with Norwegian Tale Dolven." So the Belgian actor had a trio, but no text.

"I had the idea of using the Middle East as a theme - the triangle formed by Beirut, Baghdad and Palestine", explains Frank Vercruyssen. "That area has been called both 'the Fertile Crescent' and 'the cradle of civilization'." Along the way he felt so inspired by the photos of two Palestinian artists and by two actors het met in Syria, that he invited them all to join the project.
"The idea of 'the tangible' has been part of my life for so long. It needs to be talked about," says the tg STAN actor, who has often travelled in the Arab world. "Many people call our company 'political'. But we only represent ourselves. We talk about our concerns, whether it is love, emptiness, absurdity or politics," stresses Vercruyssen.

inner landscape
"On a more philosophical level I think everyone has a landscape inside them. One can live in Norway, but feel drawn to Thailand. My landscape is the Sahara and the city is Damascus," the Belgian actor reveals with a smile. He doesn't want to say too much about the motivational background of the performance, and he hopes that people will watch it with an open mind. "Even if the Palestinian question was the starting point, I hope the performance goes beyond that," says Frank Vercruyssen.

Bergen tidende, Ann Kristin Odegard, April 6th 2010