Theater Company Dood Paard with three productions at LaMama in New York City

Dutch theater company Dood Paard is back in town. After their performance of REIGEN ad lib at the Guggenheim Museum last year, they will take residency for two weeks in November/December at LaMama theater in New York City. They will perform in Rep their productions Freetown, Othello Bye Bye and Answer Me (the latter two part of the Stock Xenophobia series).

Performance schedule:
Wed 28 Nov – Freetown 7:30pm
Thu 29 Nov – Freetown 7:30pm
Fri 30 Nov – Freetown 7:30pm
Sat 1st Dec – Othello Bye Bye 7:30pm
Sun 2 Dec – Othello Bye Bye 2:30pm / 7:30pm

Tue 4 Dec – Freetown 7:30pm
Wed 5 Dec – Freetown 7:30pm
Thu 6 Dec – Othello Bye Bye 7:30pm
Fri 7 Dec – Othello Bye Bye 7:30pm
Sat 8 Dec – Answer Me 7:30pm
Sun 9 Dec – Answer Me 2:30pm / 7:30pm.

In the 18 years since Dood Paard was founded, this theatre collective has developed its own style of theatre. First and foremost, Dood Paard’s approach is an expression of how its members work together and how they perceive the world around them. It can most easily be characterised through tangible components such as Kuno Bakker’s logo-like poster designs, the group’s montage approach to set and costume design, and the actors’ openness to their live audience. But Dood Paard’s theatre is actually the expression of a mentality that has everything to do with autonomy, and each performance is an explicit attempt on the part of the actors to relate to the world in the here and now. In a Dood Paard play, group behaviour is a matter of clearly signalled agreements: the actors continually change their clothes, they pretend that they are having a meeting, they make the audience feel as welcome as possible, and they never leave the stage. But in each production, and behind each pair of costume glasses, the actors always remain tangibly, visibly, individual personalities. Every action taken and line spoken is directed at sharpening the actor-maker’s mind, and by extension the spectator’s. Whether it is a play by Shakespeare, a script by Rob de Graaf or a self-assembled text, the questions being posed remain the same: what do we know, what is our situation and what do we think?

In a Dood Paard play, group behaviour is a matter of clearly signalled agreements: the actors continually change their clothes, they pretend that they are having a meeting, they make the audience feel as welcome as possible, and they never leave the stage. But in each production, and behind each pair of costume glasses, the actors always remain tangibly, visibly, individual personalities. Every action taken and line spoken is directed at sharpening the actor-maker’s mind, and by extension the spectator’s. Whether it is a play by Shakespeare, a script by Rob de Graaf or a self-assembled text, the questions being posed remain the same: what do we know, what is our situation and what do we think?

Dood Paard’s unyielding grip on its autonomy, its repeated defence of it, is unique. There are few other groups in the Netherlands who have worked for so long without either a director or set designer. In Dood Paard’s work, no external authority determines the worldview being expressed, the acting style or the stage design; each and every decision on these and other matters emerges from discussions between equals – the actors and the technicians.

While Dood Paard’s collective working method and organisational structure is utopian, the group’s performances are placed at the very centre of stark reality. The actors are no less participants in everyday life than their audience. They show how they are influenced by advertising slogans and political promises, how power mechanisms function and how ideals can degenerate into hollow rhetoric.

Dood Paard believe that a critical stance toward the world at large is the primary condition for theatre making. This is, however, complemented by the group’s tireless and infectious sense of optimism about the mental resourcefulness of the individual, whose intellect and creativity can transcend any tragedy.

Past and present work by Dood Paard includes RITTER DENE VOSS by Thomas Bernhard,REIGEN ad lib (after Hands Around) by Arthur Schnitzler, FREETOWN by Rob de Graaf, ANSWER ME by Gerardjan Rijnders, Othello (bye bye) by William Shakespeare and Wachten op Godot (Waiting for Godot) by Samuel Beckett. Dood Paard performs regularly in the Netherlands and Belgium, and often at theatres and festivals in Europe and beyond.

theater-company-dood-paard-with-three-productions-at-lamama-in-new-york-city/Wednesday, November 28 – Sunday, December 9, 2012
LaMama – New York, NY