Following the huge success of the three previous seasons at Summerhall, Big in Belgium, Richard Jordan Productions, Summerhall and Theatre Royal Plymouth return to present a fourth BIG IN BELGIUM at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe – featuring some of the most significant theatre companies from the Flemish part of Belgium, 3 – 28 August 2016.
Each of the shows in this season has previously been very successful on the European mainland and are now presented for the first time to Edinburgh audiences, some translated and adapted, ready for breaking new grounds in English-speaking territories.
For this year’s festival a theme emerged. In one way or another, most shows are talking about a sense of homely safety. Whether literally in the case of ONE HUNDRED HOMES or more generally as in Ontroerend Goed’s WORLD WITHOUT US, it feels like Belgian artists feel the need to think abouut the disapearance of the places where we are most comfortable.
Contemporary arts are always reflections on contemorary issues. When major devestating events happen close to where you live they will, without fail, penetrate your way of thinking, change the way you act and influence what you create. In a large or small way all shows in this collection show awareness of recent European history and BIG IN BELGIUM hopes to take you on a journey where you question your own points of view in light of the recent reality.
In BILDRAUM, which opens at Summerhall on 16 August, an architect and a photographer compose an audio-visual story live on stage. By reconstructing spaces in which memories once took place, different storylines slowly unfold, like browsing a photo album created on the spot. The two performers act as technicians of the imagination using architectural models, live photography, sounds and music to unite the visual and special into a surprising performance. A brilliant award-winning original show where the past and present seem to coincide and the audience themselves gradually develop the connections in between. www.atelierbildraum.com
A teenage girl runs away from home to a nearby city. Nobody notices her but there is actually someone looking out for her? In LAST CALL which can be seen at Summerhall from 3 August (press from 5 August), Belgium’s foremost graphic novelist, Philip Parquet and playwright Adriaan Van Aken’s urban adult comic book is brought vividly to life, fusing live voices, dynamic video, projection, sound and music into a thrilling after-dark fantasia of theatre and art. From the producers of Summerhall hits Tourniquet (2013), Looking for Paul (2014) and The Great Downhill Journey of Little Tommy (2015), you won’t want to miss this year’s new late-night cult Fringe show. www.nieuwstedelijk.be
Macbeth and Kurt Cobain and Lady Macbeth and Courtney Love inspire MACBAIN a pitch-black comedy by Gerardjan Rijnders about unbridled ambition, hunger for power and an addiction to intoxication and ecstasy which opens in Summerhall’s Old Lab on 5 August. Dood Paard’s triptych of hilarious interviews with the pop stars, a freaky fast-forward puppet version of Macbeth which results in a merciless symbiosis of the grunge couple Cobain-Love and the Thanes of Cawdor. A crazy journey into the world of two seriously troubled people who are trying to escape from their mental prison, as the loneliness howls through the room and the attempts to reverse the inevitable end are heart-breaking. www.doodpaard.nl/nieuws
Yinka Kuitenbrouwer visited over one hundred people. She talked to them about the idea of ‘home’. With the help of snapshots, quotes and biscuits, Yinka created a new story – ONE HUNDRED HOMES , which opens at Summerhall on 3 August (press from 5 August). An intimate performance, played out in a small wooden cabin specially built in Summerhall’s Courtyard, ONE HUNDRED HOMES is an ongoing performance; each time Yinka performs the play, she also visits people in the area, adding their stories to her archives. During her stay at the Fringe, Yinka will continue to collect her impressions in the Edinburgh area, visiting residents, artists and visitors. honderdhuizen.wordpress.com
BRONKS present US/THEM at Summerhall from 3 August (press from 5 August). During a hostage drama in a school in Beslan that started in September 2004, the greatest of evils, terrorists, chose the greatest good – a group of children as their victims. US/THEM is not a straightforward account of this terrible drama, but is about the entirely individual way that children cope with extreme situations. With humour and a matter-of-fact approach, it contrasts the views of children with those of adults, Brussels-based BRONKS is one of Belgium’s leading theatres for young audiences. A lightness of storytelling, breath-taking scenography and a strong cast create a thrilling, unmissable theatrical experience. www.bronks.be/en
Edinburgh favourites Ontroerend Goed present their latest production, WORLD WITHOUT US at Summerhall from 3 August (press from 5 August). We could hardly imagine it; no mortgages, no knitting scarves, no swimming pools, no butterfly strokes and no honey kept in glass bowls. Animals would no longer be stuffed, skyscrapers no longer built, no more suicide and no mathematics. There would be no more talk about the old days, about what’s possible. There would be no words. It would never happen. We’d find a solution. A world without us. Multiple Fringe First award winners Ontroerend Goed return to Edinburgh with their new piece about the end of humanity and what comes after. www.ontroerendgoed.be/en