Toneelgroep Amsterdam with “Roman Tragedies” at BAM in Brooklyn, NY

Toneelgroep Amsterdam presents contemporary theatre of an international standard produced from its home base, the Amsterdam Stadsschouwburg. As the Netherlands’ largest repertory company, it holds a prominent place in the Dutch capital’s international cultural scene. With an annual average of 20 plays and performing a total of over 350 performances, the company entertains audiences of 100,000 each year.

Roman Tragedies was premiered in June 2007, during the Holland Festival. Van Hove stages three plays by Shakespeare – Coriolanus, Julius Caesar, Antony & Cleopatra – as one continuous perfor-mance about the world of politics. In 2008 the show was also selected for the Wiener Festwochen and Braunschweig Theaterformen festivals and for the Dutch and Flemish Theatre Festival. Roman Trag-edies was nominated for the Dutch Theatre Audience Award 2008.In 09|10 Roman Tragedies was performed in Zürich (Zürcher Theater Spektakel), Wroclaw (Dialog Festival), London (The Barbican Centre) and Canada (Carrefour International Quebec and Festival Transamerique Montreal).

The three Roman tragedies reveal the political game in all its facets. Coriolanus takes place during the rise of the Roman Republic. The eponymous hero (Fedja van Huêt) refuses to submit to the changed political constellation. He defies the masses and their new representatives and is banished. Ultimately he takes up arms against Rome, his own city. Julius Caesar (Hugo Koolschijn) acquires power be-cause, by contrast, he is a virtuoso in manipulating the masses. A number of politicians fear the ad-vent of a dictatorship and remove him in order to save the democracy, but by then it is already too late to reverse the changed political climate. In Antony & Cleopatra, global politics and the passionate love between the Roman Antony (Hans Kesting) and the Egyptian Cleopatra (Chris Nietvelt) become intertwined. Antony’s inner conflict between public responsibility and his heart’s desire leads to a bloodbath.

The audience is situated in the middle of a political arena in which the production is played out non-stop. The spectators can move freely between the hall, the circle and the stage. There is no fixed intermission but there are a number of shorter breaks. Snacks and drinks are available on the stage throughout the performance. The members of the audience can themselves use multimedia resources to decide which situation they wish to focus on.

Ivo van Hove began his career as a stage director in 1981, working with plays he had written himself (Ziektekiemen, Geruchten). He was artistic manager at AKT, Akt-Vertical and De Tijd, successively. Between 1990 and 2000 he was the director at Het Zuidelijk Toneel. Since 2001, Van Hove has been general director of Toneelgroep Amsterdam (the Amsterdam Theatre Group). He has coordinated productions at the Edinburgh International Festival, the Venice Biennale, the Holland Festival, Theater der Welt in Germany, the Wiener Festwochen in Vienna, as well as working in London, Canada, Lis-bon, Paris, Verona, Hannover, Porto, Cairo, Poland and New York. He has directed companies from the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg, the Staatstheater in Stuttgart and the New York Theatre Workshop. He produced Thuisfront for Dutch television and his first cinematic film, Amsterdam, came out in 2009. Ivo van Hove directed the musical Rent for Joop van den Ende. From 1998 to 2004, Ivo van Hove was festival manager of the Holland Festival, where he presented an annual selection of international theatre, music, opera and dance. Since 1984, Van Hove has worked as part of the artistic management of the Department of Dramatic Art at Hogeschool Antwerpen. At the Toneelgroep Am-sterdam, Van Hove has recently directed Angels in America by Tony Kushner, the marathon perfor-mance of Romeinse tragedies based on the work of Shakespeare, Opening Night by John Cassavet-es, Rocco en zijn broers by Luchino Visconti and Teorema based on the work of Pier Paolo Pasolini (in partnership with the Ruhrtriennale), Antonioni Project by Michelangelo Antonioni, Kreten en geflu-ister by Ingmar Bergman, La voix humaine by Jean Cocteau and Zomertrilogie by Carlo Goldoni.

At the Vlaamse Opera, he staged a production of Lulu (Alban Berg) and the complete Ring Cycle by Wagner (2006 – 2008). He put on a production of Janàcek’s De Zaak Makropoulos and Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta for the De Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam.

Van Hove has received regular many accolades, including two Obie Awards for the best production of an off-Broadway production in New York (for More Stately Mansions and Hedda Gabler), the East Flanders Oeuvre Prize (1995), the Theatre Festival Prize (1996) and the Archangel Award at the Ed-inburgh Festival (1999). He was made a knight of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France in 2004. In 2007 he received the Prijs van de Kritiek in the Netherlands, a prize awarded by theatre critics. In 2008, he also received the Prosceniumprijs, a Dutch theatre prize, together with Jan Versweyveld.

In 2010 he directed Der Menschenfeind in Schaubuehne Berlin; Kinderen van de Zon by Gorki for Toneelgroep Amsterdam and NTGent, Little Foxes by Lillian Hellman in New York. In 2011 Ludwig II based on the work of Visconti for the Muenchener Kammerspiele in Munich and The Russians! (Pla-tonov meets Ivanov) adaptation by Tom Lanoye of the plays by Chechov.

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Friday, November 16, 2012 at 6:00PM
Brooklyn Academy of Music – Brooklyn, NY

Saturday & Sunday, November 17 & 18, 2012 at 3:00PM

Brooklyn Academy of Music – Brooklyn, NY