STAN / Toneelhuis
The paradox of peace is that it needs to be won.
In Atropa, Naomi Velissariou and Floor Houwink sing of the fight for emancipation in a language their generation understands best: that of pumping beats and razor-sharp poetry. Atropa tells the story of the war for Troy and unites the classical and the contemporary in terms of theme as well as language.
Writer Tom Lanoye transformed the age-old story of the struggle between East and West into a critique of contemporary imperialism. Atropa shows the violence of war in a visceral
manner. It shows the fear on which that violence is based and the irony that there must be
suffering on the road to freedom. The war waged by men in Atropa is at the expense of the woman, who loses child, love, body and ground to her oppressor. At the end of the war, Greek women come face to face with Trojan women, who after the occupation of their city prefer death to a life of oppression:
“You are just as guilty as your husband – perhaps even more so, for you never believed in
what drives him. He at least has an excuse, a native land – And what is your defence, why did you forgo resistance? How many Trojans have you saved? Where is the confession, the atonement for remaining silent? Why would I implore this? You are indebted to me.”
Atropa is no harmless tale about a long-ago war, but a primordial story about the formation of images, oppression, and racial hatred. The makers’ decision not to be colour blind when
casting their show sheds a new light on this story from the cradle of Western literary history.
Naomi Velissariou and Floor Houwink ten Cate’s Atropa is a linguistic bacchanal in which
the stage becomes an arena for musical violence and visual spectacle. In Dennis Vanderbroeck's scenography, the audience comes within easy reach of the tragedy. Lanoye's ultra-rhythmic stabs of language are matched by the sound design of Joost Maaskant and Jimi Zoet, which varies between the genres of techno, doom, metal, hardcore, trap and drill. The costumes of MAISON the FAUX turn the battlefield into a death fashion show.
* Intersectionality is the phenomenon that "social inequality occurs along different axes that intersect"; the notion that individuals in a society experience oppression based on a multitude of factors.
ABOUT THE SCRIPT
Atropa. Avenging Peace was written in 2008 by Tom Lanoye and premiered that same year at the Avignon festival, directed by Guy Cassiers. In 2012, Lanoye won the playwrights’ award, because in Atropa he "searches for the roots of the evil called war and violence" and thereby "analyzes the game of power", according to the Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature.
ABOUT THE MAKERS
Naomi Velissariou and Floor Houwink ten Cate have been working together for five years in various configurations, including for the productions Sontag (2017), PERMANENT DESTRUCTION: The HM Concert (2019) and PERMANENT DESTRUCTION: Pain Against Fear (2020). For Atropa they join forces in a co-direction, their joint storming of the big stage.
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