I A theatre . dance 0 comedy

Family video: Caligula keeps it on record in lvo Van Hove's hi-tech production


Family Jewels

Both of Dutch director lvo Van Hove’s productions at the International Festival examine issues of family and power.

Imagine all the tensions of those family reunion Christmas dinners extended throughout the year, and you’ll have an idea of how American playwright Eugene O’Neill represented his family.

O'Neill’s troubled relationship with his parents is detailed in his well known epic, Long Day’s Journey Into Night. But according to Ivo Van Hove, artistic director of the avant—garde Het Zuidelijk Toneel theatre company - operating out of Belgium and Holland it is even more starkly portrayed in More Stately Mansions.

This autobiographical play, unfinished at the time of O’Neill’s death, has been completed by Karl Ragner Gierow and directed by Van Hove for the New York Theatre Workshop.

Albert Camus’ Caligula in which Van Hove directs Het Zuidelijk Toneel also explores a disrupted family, starting with the death of the title character's sister, for whom he has an incestuous passion. This sets Caligula on his famous mission of nihilistic and sadistic destruction.

Van Hove sees the link as coincidental, but acknowledges an enthusiasm for the subject: ’l direct a lot of family drama,’ he says. ’l’m interested in the



family as microcosm. Macbeth is, for me, a marriage drama within a political structure.’

A controversial reading, perhaps, but consistent with Van Hove’s unapologetic subjectivism. 'I choose texts from impulse,’ he states. ’I have to be in love with a text, as you do with a person. You don’t know why you love a person; it's not explainable at the time. Later you rationalise, and this is directing - you rationalise, read closely, to find out how the love works.’

Van Hove’s admiration for O’Neill, whom he calls ‘the American Shakespeare’, relates to the writer's visceral directness. ’When the characters say, ”i hate you”, it doesn’t mean, "I really love you",’ comments Van Hove. 'Everything is one hundred per cent. The monologues are like a stream of consciousness, like blood spurting from the actor’s bodies.’ The domestic discord emerges from the central characters’ quest for order. ’He tries to organise his relationships. He seeks spiritual love from his mother, and love of the flesh from his wife, but things aren’t that simple.’

Van Hove’s interpretation of Camus which has Caligula videoing his activities and broadcasting them via giant screens created a stir in the Netherlands two years ago. 'People thought it was about reality and TV, but it’s more philosophical than that,’ he explains. it’s an implosion, rather than the O’Neill explosion. The stage becomes a laboratory, the camera is like a microscope.’

Bring the family! (Steve Cramer)

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(tesrirte fl‘e high out“. of tie people rep'ese'tteu (2'1 stage, anyone can have .irzess To the emotions left indeed, for

Ordinary person: Valerie Dreville as Phédre

38 THE llST . i 1;» say jugs;

Lur Bondy's production (2‘ Rhine‘s classic tragedy prornzses to tl'v‘r; the grandeur of the director's ()pe'atx experience to the appropriately proscenium arch stage of the King's Theatre The play tells the story of tie eponymous heroines sudden change of fortunes On hearing of the death of her husband Theseus, Phedre explores her paSSion for her stepson, only to see Theseus return from his war a!:ve The consequences prove tragic for all involved, as one deception after another is uncovered.

Bondy’s view of tragedy, though, is not about grandeur so much as Ordinariness. He pornts out that,

tragedy to he surcessfut wt rriust "ear the wrongs which we see hefalirng (zeop'e like ourselves,' he says 'No watcher needs to bung his own sceptre to feel at one v..th the destinies of the cnaratters '

Racrr‘e‘s tragedy, Il‘- ‘.".’l‘.!(li acclaimed French actress Valerie Drevrlie plays the title role, is presented at the Festival by the acclaimed vaiss Vidy- Laustinne company, The play represents the conflict between our personal desires and our public and political responSIbiIities These two elements of our lives are inherently linked, but also continually in COfllllCi, (Steve Cramer)

3&5:- For details see Hit ’rsr, right

Your'fourthslifelping of the early evening’s finest refreshments. Frank Lynn Ferguson in an unmissable satire of London's open mic scene. Frank (Fringe) Lynn Ferguson, Calder’s Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2757, until 37 Aug, 7pm, £7.50 (£6.50).

After Dinner Kitschy Australian comedy from the co-writer of Strict/y Ballroom. See review in this section. After Dinner (Fringe) Dirty Bird Productions, Holyrood Tavern (Venue 84) 622 7207, until 31 Aug, 6.40pm, £6 (£5).

Caligula See prevrew, left. Caligula (International Festival) Het Z Uide/ijk Toneel, Edinburgh Playhouse (Venue 59) 473 2000, 2 8/ 3 Sep, 7.30pm, [5-22

More Stately Mansions See preview, let t More State/y Mansions (International Festival) New York Theatre l't/orkshop, ROya/ L yceurn Theatre, 473 2000, 37 Aug—4 Sep, 7pm; 5 Sep, 6.30pm, {6—[22 Phedre See preView, left. Phedre (litter/rational Festival) Theatre Vidy- Larisa/me, King’s Theatre, 437 2000, 2 5 Sep, 7 30pm, [5 £22 Fascinations From The Crowd Panoramic view of London life by innovative multimedia group lecund Theatre Fascinations From The Crowd (Fringe) teCr/nd Theatre, Theatre lit/orkshop (Venue 20,) 226 5425, until 3’ Aug 7 30pm, f7 ([5) Phil Cool There’s life in the old gurnmers‘ter yet. See review in this set tron Phil Cool (Fringe; Pleasa/tce (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 37 Aug 7 300m, [8 50/[7 50 ([7 50/f650) Perfect Days Siobhan Redmond sparkies as the maternal wannabe in Liz Lochhead's superb new (Omedy Perfect Days (Fringe) Traverse Theatre Company, Traverse Theatre (Venue 75) 228 7404, until 5 Sep, times vary, £72 ([7 50).


In our review last issue, we mistakenly exaggerated the running time for this show, which currently runs at around 150 minutes, including interval. Apologies to all concerned.