“In the office of the leadership—where it was and who sat there no one I asked knows or knew—in this office I imagine that all human thoughts and wishes revolve in a circle, and all human aims and fulfillments in a circle going in the opposite direction. But through the window the reflection of the divine worlds fell onto the hands of the leadership as they drew up the plans. [...] Throughout all the different levels of the world the emperor, as emperor, is great. But the living emperor, a human being like us, lies on a peaceful bed, just as we do. It is, no doubt, of ample proportions, but it could be merely narrow and short. [...]
The empire is immortal, but the individual emperor falls and collapses. Even entire dynasties finally sink down and breathe their one last death rattle. The people will never know anything about these struggles and suffering. Like those who have come too late, like strangers to the city, they stand at the end of the thickly populated side alleyways, quietly living off the provisions they have brought with them, while far off in the market place right in the middle foreground the execution of their master is taking place."

From: ‘The Great Wall of China’, Franz Kafka
When the theatre curtain (behind which the installation is set) opens, we see three figures standing up straight: one woman and two men. They are smaller than normal people and they sing extracts from opera arias. The figures are dolls onto which is projected the filmed images of three opera singers. The woman wears a 'Thatcher-style' deux pièces; one man wears a smart suit and the third one is dressed in a white costume with some military badges attached. In short, they are important people.
Arias of Verdi, Wagner, Händel and Stravinsky are sung; although each voice takes a separate section, these arias flow into one another and at the end the opera singers join together in chorus. The opera fragments describe the fall or the impending demise of several rulers (kings, generals, pharaohs, half-gods, etc.). The singers warn us, all together, of this imminent end in their final aria.

THEY is also part of the 'circuit performance' K, a Society (2010).
Concept & direction: Kris Verdonck
Dramaturgy: Marianne Van Kerkhoven (Kaaitheater)
With: Eurudike De Beul, Steve Dugardin, Christoph Ragg, Wilfried Van den Brande
Camera and editing: Vincent Pinckaers
Sound design: Thomas Turine, Chris Segers & Stef Alsenoy
Light design: Luc Schaltin (Kaaitheater)
Costumes: Schauspiel Essen, Sofie Durnez
Technical direction: Colin Legras / Luc Schaltin (Kaaitheater)
Construction: Sylvain Spinoit & Steven Blum
Multimedia programmation: Félix Luque
Image processing: Massimiliano Simbula
Production manager: Hendrik De Smedt
Administrator: Han De Meulemeester
Coproduction: Theater der Welt 2010 (DE), Transdigital (Interreg), Kunstencentrum Vooruit (BE), Productiehuis Rotterdam / Rotterdamse Schouwburg (NL), Kaaitheater (BE)
In partnership with: Schauspiel Essen (DE), Le manège.mons (BE) and Technocité (BE) in the frame of Transdigital
With the support of:  the Flemish Authorities, the Flemish Community Commission (VGC), the Brussels Capital Region

  • 2011
  • 2010
14 > 17/07
DE Essen Theater der Welt 2010
10 > 12/09
NL Rotterdam De Internationale Keuze 2010
10 > 12/11
BE Gent Kunstencentrum Vooruit
26 > 27/02
BE Brussels Performatik [Kaaitheater]
21 > 26/03
BE Mons Festival Via [manège.mons/CECN]
23 > 26/06
NL Breda Chassé Theater
  • THEY - © Luc Schaltin
  • THEY - © Luc Schaltin