Bad Boy Nietzsche

24, 25 Mei/Mai/May 20:30
26 Mei/Mai/May 19:00
27 Mei/Mai/May 18:00
Duur/Durée/Duration: 1:30
Europese première/Première européenne/European première

Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche died exactly one hundred years ago. During the last ten years of his life, his brilliant mind deteriorated into madness. In January 2000, one of the leading lights of avant-garde theatre in New York, Richard Foreman, wrote and directed Bad Boy Nietzsche, his pigheaded, terrific and ‘absurd' homage to the writer of Zarathustra. In it, shipwrecks, fallen angels, giant dolls, trivial discussion and profound considerations rub against one another. Fascinated by this irrational zone that escapes understanding, and by the presence of the insanity that smoulders in the rational mind of each of us, Richard Foreman likes to dynamite nonsense into sense. He calls his turbulent theatre Ontological-Hysteric Theater.

Tekst, regie, compositie, scenografie/Texte, mise en scène, composition, scénographie/Text, direction, composition, scenography: Richard Foreman

Met/Avec/With: Gary Wilmes (Friedrich Nietzsche), Kevin Hurley (The cruel man), Sarah Louise Lilley (The Child), Juliana Francis(The Beautiful Woman), Brian Bickerstaff, Marc Lesser, David Lloyd Rabig, Josh Stark(The Aggressive Servants)

Producer/Producteur: Diane White
Produktieleider/Directeur de production/Production Manager: Owen Hughes
Tourneeleider/Directeur de compagnie/Company Manager: Beverly Lewis
Technisch directeur/Directeur technique/Technical director: Michael Casselli
Inspiciënt/Régisseur général/Stage manager: Judson Kniffen
Hoofd belichting/Chef éclairagiste/Lighting supervisor: Gwen Beetle
Klankingenieur/Ingénieur de son/Sound engineer: Neil Benezra
Assistant technisch directeur/Assistant directeur technique/Assistant technical director: Prudence Wehnert
Klankregie/Régie son/Sound operator: Brian PJ Cronin

Kostuums/Costumes construction: Sarah Beadle
Rekwisieten/Accessoires/Props construction: Stephanie Nelson
Origineel Decor/Décor original/Original set construction: Billy Burns

Productie/Production: Ontological-Hysteric Theater (New York)
Presentatie/Présentation/Presentation: Gemeenschapscentrum De Kriekelaar, KunstenFESTIVALdesArts

De voorstellingen van Ontological-Hysteric Theater, Inc. werden mogelijk gemaakt deels door de steun van/La participation du Ontological-Hysteric Theater, Inc. a été rendue possible entre autres grâce au soutien de/Participation of Ontological-Hysteric Theater, Inc. has been made possible in part through support from:
The Fund for U.S. Artists at International Festivals and Exhibitions, a public/private partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Department of State, The Rockefeller Foundation, and The Pew Charitable Trusts,
Met de administratieve steun van/Avec le soutien administratif de/With administrative support from: Arts International

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‘Hysteria’ – a set of psychological, neurological and functional disorders generally attributed to simulation. Symptoms take on the appearance of organic dysfunctions.

‘Ontology’ – the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being, independent of its particular determinations.

To give one’s theatre the name Ontological-Hysteric Theater in the United States in 1968 meant compartmentalising the stage like an echo chamber containing a stream of impulses hurtling outwards, rebounding off the walls to return to the centre, transformed. Hysteric is the dynamic of the tension between the impulse and the barriers it has crashed into. It is ontological because this twirling spinning top driven by acting is the human brain breaking down and becoming schizophrenic. “Only one thing interests me, and that one thing is the force behind my entire work. It is hard to define. It is a question of the impenetrable nature of the world. The nature of it is so dense and so rich that it is impossible to take one word out without reducing it to a lie. Our whole life bows before the restricting objectives of individual success. This volontarist effort suppresses the urges that might destroy the course of our normative reason. In the twentieth century, art is only of interest if it enables us to reconnect with the repressed element that exists in all of us. My plays are theatrical paradise because they project the joy of a world where nothing can or has to explain itself, a world in which communication does not exist. They seek to liberate stifled complexes/complexities and prove that we can enjoy savouring their energy. It’s an inexhaustible subject!”

Unusual in the theatre, Richard Foreman, now in his sixties, has lost none of his bite, still less of his modernity. He has written around thirty plays and people have stopped counting the number he has directed. In the English-speaking world, dozens of publications have been written about the man and his work. Ephemeral theatre does not survive its performance. With a mixture of wryness and venom, Foreman relives indefinitely the anxiety of creation. « If it weren’t for my own weaknesses, my uncertainties and anxieties, maybe I’d be in Hollywood. If I didn’t feel that I was starting off with a handicap then maybe my productions wouldn’t have this tone of bitter and almost vindictive humour that characterises them. In each performance the fight has to start again from scratch. At each première I can’t help thinking that I’m going to disgrace myself . »This, no doubt, is what pioneers have to put up with – Foreman paved the way for non-institutional theatre in New York. He continues to inspire it and can boast – even if he does not – of having been the driving force behind the exhilarating and intelligent appearance of the Wooster Group and the radical and critical frenzy around choreographer Reza Abdoh. He has travelled less in Europe than they have, still less in Belgium. Those for whom the productions of the Wooster Group and the discovery of Abdoh generated profound theatrical shock waves are going to be able to encounter the thrilling and caustic style of the master. For the rest, they will be entering the anarchic impatience and amazing know-how of a contemporary, as relevant today as he was when his work was first seen on stage.

(Greatest Modern Philosopher)

1900 – Died insane !

but in the year 2000

Richard Foreman reveals

The True Bad Boy Nietzsche Story !

This is how his latest creation is heralded – almost like a tabloid headline! Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask about the shadowy side of the great philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche – he descended into madness at the end of his life – will be revealed by Richard Foreman, exactly one hundred years after he was laid to rest. The play is performed by eight actors and dancers, interspersed with fake horses and other dead fish, and by a giant, bandy-legged God-doll wrapped in bandages. Every time it moves there is a risk of men and angels being flattened so they have to escape between its feet. Foreman explains: “The perspective offered by this play, which is about a philosopher who preached ‘perspectives’, comes from within the seeds of his own madness. We choose to hypothesise this madness as not only flying to embrace a horse being beaten on the streets of Torino but as healthier years (and may we all productively touch such hidden madness!). It fuelled the fire of his epoch-shattering philosophy, in effect turning everything productively upside down, like walking upside down on the other side of the world, in China, as fantasised about in this play.”

If Foreman is described as a writer-director and stage designer, it is simply that writing cannot be dissociated from the environment in which it is going to be acted out. Bad Boy Nietzsche begins under the shadow of a possible ocean – the world or his brain – a giant whirlpool lashed by thunder and lightning. The stage is littered with shipwrecks and regurgitated debris. Opposite the ocean is the philosopher’s room where a masochistic little man begs to be maltreated and insulted so that his suffering can propel him to the nirvana of creation. A beautiful female angel bullies, flatters and tortures him. The writer of Zarathustra is treated like a subhuman, in the image of the Jewish outcast about which he used to fantasise. Quieter and more insidious than his recent plays, Bad Boy Nietzsche still betrays the obsessions of the great philosopher.

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