Mokhallad Rasem acted in a former performance of Dood Paard, Othello (Bye Bye). Last year Kuno Bakker had a part in the Toneelhuis production Poquelin II. The two actors got to know each other better and had long conversations about their different backgrounds.
In De verse tijd Rasem and Bakker investigate their relationship to the present juncture. The two artists living in Antwerp play nine mini-dramas each of which has a central theme: love, fear, loneliness, sex, war, secrets, fathers, art and death. These themes lead to conflicts, but also to recognition and reconciliation. Food for a classical tragedy maybe, but these pieces are anything but classical. Together the parts tell a frame story about two men who, in spite of their differences, look for the common ground where their lives touch and enrich each other. Or where perhaps they should leave each other alone.
In the heart-to-heart talk about these differences, the audience is invited to think along and define their own position.
They talk and remain silent.
Dance and sit.
Stare and look.
Ask questions and understand.
They argue, sharpen knives.
Pray to Allah, curse God.
Request papers, stall.
Make up facts, belie the truth.
"Their heartfelt talks are reminiscent of Toon Tellegen’s stories of the grasshopper and the ant, but now it’s two people: two men from different cultures who are curious about each other, finding some things a little strange, other things rather odd; two lives that touch upon, complement, and enrich each other."
"Bakker and Rasem are born entertainers who are a perfect duo. While they do not avoid heavy subjects, they remain light-hearted."
"It is to their credit that these two theatre-makers examine their differences beyond the obvious aspects of cultural diversity."
"Despite the discomfort brought about by their divergent views of art and life, the men always end up sincerely embracing each other. As such, the performance is a moving ode to the equitable exchange of ideas."
"In Bakker, we mostly recognize the sensible Westerner; Rasem is the sensitive Iraqi who turns to poetry for everything. But the makers do not get distracted by this contradistinction. In the same way that a cello sonata from Brahms matches beautifully with an Arabic song at the end of the show, De verse tijd expresses a continual curiosity about the other and the other’s world. And that feels good."
"De verse tijd is a charming performance by two men who affectionately explore their differences instead glossing them over, and who look for the points where their lives touch upon and enrich each other."
by and with
- Kuno Bakker
- Mokhallad Rasem
- Dood paard