O N T R A C K
K R I S T I E N D E P R O O S T
T R I S T E R O B I G I N B E L G I U M
T R I S T E R O B I G I N B E L G I U M
E D I N B U R G H F R I N G E 2015
S U M M E R H A L L
A U G U S T 7-8-11-12-14-15-18-19-21-22-25-26-28-29-30 A T 20:30
What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?
It started with a fascination for self-portraits. I realized that I had never seen a real self-portrait in theatre so far. That is: a self-portrait in the sense of a momentary snap-shot of oneself, not a story or memoir or history. I took it as a challenge to try to summarize my present state live on stage, as objective as possible and within the time-limit of, let’s say, an hour and half. At the same time I wanted to make visible the impossibility of this attempt. The moment you start to describe yourself, time is already passing by, and you have lost track. You always run behind.
And how do you measure objectivity when you are talking about yourself? Quite early in the process of making On Track I decided to go for an extreme physical performance to make this idea clear and also to have the opportunity to create the greatest possible change of look during a show of an hour and something. It turned out to be running during the whole show, costume changes included.
Why bring your work to Edinburgh?
We were invited to Edinburgh in the Big in Belgium program curated by David Bauwens, general manager of Ontroerend Goed and Richard Jordan Productions, who for 3 years now have presented some of the finest Belgian companies and artists in Summerhall and Traverse Theatre during the Edinburgh Fringe.
We accepted the invitation because it seemed a good opportunity to present On Track on the international stage of Edinburgh Fringe, to meet new audiences and, if possible, to be picked up by theatre professionals present in the festival.
What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?
The performance expresses in a way that we are all as unique as we are not. One might think that a self-portrait only concerns the one portrayed, but that is not at all true. Because of its straightforwardness, its humor and sincerity, the show be- comes universal and puts plodding mankind into perspective. The performance works as a mirror and gives food for thought . And there is of course the ‘tour de force’ of an actress running while speaking du- ring 70 minutes. That’s quite an experience, as people in the audience in Belgium and France often expressed.
The Dramaturgy Questions
How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?
That depends on how you define dramaturgy. In our company we don’t see dramaturgy as a separate function. We don’t have ‘a’ dramaturg for example. We take care of dramaturgy ourselves, which means that in the period between creations we read al lot of repertoire, fiction, non-fiction, we attend exhibitions, we discuss themes that interest us.
During a creation we continue to do this, focusing more now on the themes that are part of the creation we are working on. However, these periods mingle of course. Dramaturgy is for our company a kind of continuous reflection. Always trying to see things from different angles and enlarging our views.
What particular traditions and influences would you acknowledge on your work - have any particular artists, or genres inspired you and do you see yourself within their tradition?
One could say that Tristero is influenced by the, quite new, tradition of collectives in Belgian and Dutch theatre, which emerged in the 1980s. Every step in the process of creating theatre is taken care of by all members of the company. We rarely work with separate functions as a director, for example.
Every individual has his own for- te of course, but every member is equally responsible for the result. Sometimes however, a member can set up a project separately, in which he is responsible for the decisions. Then the other members function more as an outside eye, as was the case for On Track. The performance On Track specifically was influenced by the self-portraits of Lucian Freud and the written self-portrait of François de Larochefoucauld, a French writer and thinker from the 17th century.
Do you have a particular process of making that you could describe - where it begins, how you develop it, and whether there is any collaboration in the process?
For On Track everything started with the fascination mentioned above. Then the idea ripened in my mind during some time, while creating other performances. Which means I brainstormed on form and content slowly. Next I started to write the text. To feed the writing I used the list of Max Frisch’s challenging questions and I organized interviews: I asked several people - from friends to colleagues to more objective journalists- to ask me questions I would perhaps forget or fear to ask my- self. Then I tried out parts of the text on stage for my colleagues while running, re- wrote, re-tried, etc. until the show became what it is now, although things keep on changing.
What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work?
For me, a performance is always a moment of communication. We pass on ideas and images, and the interpretation of these by every member of the audience is part of meaning the of the work. Even a highly personal work as On Track doesn’t mean anything without an audience listening, watching and thinking together with me.
Tristero has the tradition to set up shows in which the relation with the audience is challenged in a gentle way. We like to play with the convention of us performers in the lights on stage and you audience in seats in the dark. But at the same time we also make fourth wall theatre. Maybe just because people don’t expect us to do it.
Are there any questions that you feel I have missed out that would help me to understand how dramaturgy works for you?
As a consequence of what I just described above: Tristero doesn’t have one particular way of working. We always try to find the way of creating that fits the theme we are working on. In that sense, thinking about form is an important part of the Tristero dramaturgy.
Kristien De Proost (Tristero)
B I O G R A PH Y
Kristien De Proost (Belgium, 1972) studied English and Dutch at the University of Leuven and Dramatic Arts at the Studio Herman Teirlinck in Antwerp. As a freelancer she performed with Toneelhuis, HetPaleis, LOD, Crew and KVS. Since 2004 she has been a permanent member of the artistic core of Tristero, for which she performs, creates and writes plays.
by Kristien De Proost in collaboration with Youri Dirkx & Peter Vandenbempt text Kristien De Proost english translation Gregory Ball performance Kristien De Proost & Mark De Proost scenography & costumes Marie Szersnovicz lightdesign Harry Cole make-up & hairdress design Marie Messien technical support Tom Bruwier & Bart Luypaert set construction Bart Luypaert, Wout Janssens & Koen Raes teaser, trailer & videocaptation Mathias Ruelle photography (front page) Youri Dirkx & Kristien De Proost photography (others) Mirjam Devriendt production Tristero (Belgium) coproduction Kaaitheater (Belgium), Campo (Belgium), Big in Belgium, Richard Jordan Productions (UK) & Theatre Royal Plymouth
T R I S T E R O
Tristero is a Brussels-based theatre company, the artistic core being Kristien De Proost, Youri Dirkx and Peter Vandenbempt. Manu Devriendt is the company manager. Each member of the artistic core is equally involved with the creative process: looking for or creating new texts, dramaturgy, develop and play. If you take all their productions, you will find them very diverse. Often it’s new or unknown repertoire: incisive comedies or intriguing ‘well made plays’ (including work by Mike Leigh, David Hare and Martin Crimp), own creative writing or adaptations of prose, but also movement theatre or a mix of one or more of the above mentioned. Humour is an important asset: intelligent, but not intellectual, accessible but not vulgar, now again crude, then subtle, gloomy, but never cynical, sometimes absurd.
Tristero is subsidised by the Flemish Community and by the Brussels Capital Region’s Flemish Community Commission.
O.L.V. Van Vaakstraat 83 B - 1000 Brussels email@example.com
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B I G I N B E L G I U M
In 2013 Ontroerend Goed General Manager David Bauwens and Richard Jordan Productions embarked on a project entitled Big in Belgium to present some of the finest Belgian companies and artists who may be less familiar to audiences outside of Belgium and the Netherlands on the international stage of the Edinburgh Fringe and on tour beyond it.
2015 is the third edition of Big in Belgium and will feature seven of Belgium’s most exciting theatre and performance companies for audiences to discover this year at Summerhall and the Traverse.
The Theatre Royal Plymouth is a coproducer of Big in Belgium.
R I C H A R D J O R D A N P R O D U C T I O N S
Richard Jordan Productions is an Olivier and TONY Award- winning production company based in London under the artistic leadership of producer Richard Jordan. Founded in 1998, his company has produced over 190 productions in the UK as well as 21 other countries, including 70 world premieres and 81 European, Australian or US premieres enjoying associations with many of the world’s leading theatres, arts organisations and a long relationship with the Edinburgh Fringe.
T H E A T R E R O Y A L P L Y M O U T H
The Theatre Royal Plymouth is the largest and best attended regional producing theatre in the UK and the leading promoter of theatre in the South West. We produce and present a broad range of theatre in our three distinctive performance spaces - The Lyric, The Drum and The Lab - including classic and contemporary drama, musicals, opera, ballet and dance. We specialise in the production of new plays and have built a national reputation for the quality and innovation of our programme.
The Theatre Royal Plymouth collaborates with some of the best artists and theatre makers in the UK and beyond. We have regularly co-produced with Ontroerend Goed (Fight Night, Sirens, All That is Wrong) from Belgium.