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Passions humaines

Guy Cassiers, Toneelhuis

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Commotion at the palace and among the ecclesiastical authorities triggered by an excess of sensuality and decadent flirtation with death, artistic envy between a celebrated architect (Victor Horta) and a sculptor of humble origin (Jef Lambeaux), and political horse-trading between the Belgian Catholic guard and the Saudi sheiks. These are just some of the ingredients from the life of Les passions humaines, a bass relief by the sculptor Jef Lambeaux (1852-1908).

Guy Cassiers makes the artwork the protagonist of a Belgian docudrama with a bilingual cast to a script by Erwin Mortier. 

Guy Cassiers’ production of Wagner’s Ring left us with the image of a stage-size reproduction of the Les passions humaines sculpture by the sculptor Jef Lambeaux – “the Belgian Rodin” (1852-1908). That sculpture takes central stage in Passions humaines, a play written by Erwin Mortier.

The bass relief Human Passions was officially unveiled in 1898. It is a monumental group sculpture in white Carrara marble on the theme of good and evil under the watchful eye of death. Each inpidual figure and the impressive work as a whole betray Lambeaux’s passion for the human body, the sensual female and the virile male, and above all for movement.

The moment the design for the sculpture was presented in 1889, it caused controversy between enthusiastic liberals and angry Catholics. The latter were incensed by its blasphemous and pornographic character. King Leopold II added fuel to the controversy when in 1890 he gave the official go-ahead for a marble version of the work to be made. The conflict then became part of an artistic debate between the already established sculptor Lambeaux and the young architect Victor Horta, who was asked to build a temple around the work in Parc du Cinquantenaire in Brussels. Even after Lambeaux’s death, the sculpture continued to stir emotions. In 1967 King Faisal of Saudi Arabia was visiting Belgium, partly to buy FN weapons. (In exchange?) King Baudouin gave the Saudis the north-western corner of the Parc du Cinquantenaire in leasehold for 99 years. That corner of the park had been home to an oriental pavilion (built for the 1897 World Fair) and to the Lambeaux-Horta building since the end of the nineteenth century. The great pavilion later became the Great Mosque of Belgium. Until a few months ago both the Horta building and the Lambeaux relief were in a very poor state of repair and access to them was restricted… Or how very few people have set eyes on one of the most controversial artworks in Belgian history!   

Writer Erwin Mortier is tackling this Belgian - all too Belgian - story and is making the controversy around the sculpture into a panorama of human dramas, social chasms and ideological battles. He assembles a group of colourful characters around the figure of Jef Lambeaux. Together they embody the spirit of the age, the norms, values and hypocrisy of the end of the nineteenth century. They include Leopold, king of the Belgians and king-sovereign of the Congo Free State, and his mistress and later wife Blanche Delacroix; the young architect Victor Horta; the art critic Sander Pierron who has a covert relationship with the writer Georges Eekhoud; Cornélie van Camp and Adèle Deforge, the respective wives of Eekhoud and Pierron. Their mutual confrontations are as fervent and intense as any depicted in and provoked by Jef Lambeaux’s Human Passions

With a mixed Belgian cast, French speaking and Dutch speaking, Passions humaines is a thoroughly Belgian story.



  • Guy Cassiers


  • Erwin Jans


  • Erwin Mortier


  • Marie Hooghe


  • Muriel Legrand
  • Serge Larivière
  • Vincent Hennebicq
  • Thierry Hellin
  • Candy Saulnier
  • Claire Bodson
  • Tom Dewispelaere
  • Marc Van Eeghem
  • Kevin Janssens
  • Katelijne Damen
  • Jorre Vandenbussche

light design

  • Stef Alleweireldt

video design

  • Kurt D'Haeseleer

sound design

  • Muriel Legrand
  • Diederik De Cock


  • Carine Cuypers

costume and set design

  • Tim Van Steenbergen


  • Toneelhuis


  • Fondation Mons 2015
  • Le Manège Mons
  • Théâtre National Wallonie - Bruxelles

with the support of

  • Stad Antwerpen

All data

Er zijn geen aankomende activiteiten voor dit event.

  1. Tuesday 21 April 2015 — Le Manège, Mons
  2. Wednesday 22 April 2015 — Le Manège, Mons
  3. Thursday 23 April 2015 — Le Manège, Mons
  4. Friday 1 May 2015 — Théâtre National, Brussel
  5. Saturday 2 May 2015 — Théâtre National, Brussel
  6. Sunday 3 May 2015 — Théâtre National, Brussel
  7. Tuesday 5 May 2015 — Théâtre National, Brussel
  8. Wednesday 6 May 2015 — Théâtre National, Brussel
  9. Thursday 7 May 2015 — Théâtre National, Brussel
  10. Friday 8 May 2015 — Théâtre National, Brussel
  11. Saturday 9 May 2015 — Théâtre National, Brussel
  12. Wednesday 13 May 2015 — 21h00 — Bourlaschouwburg, Antwerpen
  13. Thursday 14 May 2015 — 21h00 — Bourlaschouwburg, Antwerpen
  14. Friday 15 May 2015 — 21h00 — Bourlaschouwburg, Antwerpen
  15. Saturday 16 May 2015 — 21h00 — Bourlaschouwburg, Antwerpen
  16. Tuesday 19 May 2015 — 21h00 — Bourlaschouwburg, Antwerpen
  17. Wednesday 20 May 2015 — 21h00 — Bourlaschouwburg, Antwerpen
  18. Thursday 21 May 2015 — 21h00 — Bourlaschouwburg, Antwerpen
  19. Friday 22 May 2015 — 21h00 — Bourlaschouwburg, Antwerpen
  20. Saturday 23 May 2015 — 21h00 — Bourlaschouwburg, Antwerpen
  21. Sunday 24 May 2015 — 16h00 — Bourlaschouwburg, Antwerpen
  22. Monday 15 June 2015 — Holland Festival, Amsterdam
  23. Tuesday 16 June 2015 — Holland Festival, Amsterdam
  24. Friday 25 September 2015 — Cultuurcentrum Brugge, Brugge
  25. Saturday 3 October 2015 — Chassé Theater,, Breda
  26. Tuesday 6 October 2015 — 30CC, Leuven
  27. Thursday 8 October 2015 — NTGent - schouwburg, Gent
  28. Tuesday 13 October 2015 — cultuurcentrum Hasselt, Hasselt
  29. Friday 16 October 2015 — CC De Spil, Roeselare

Nieuws over ‘Passions humaines’

Article — 10 November 2015

Passions humaines valt twee keer in de prijzen bij Prix de la Critique van de Federatie Wallonië-Brussel

De Prix de la Critique beloont jaarlijks de podiumcreaties van de Federatie Wallonië-Brussel. De jury is samengesteld uit journalisten van radio, tv en geschreven pers. De voorstelling Passions humaines van Guy Cassiers (Toneelhuis, in coproductie met Théâtre National, Fondation Mons 2015, Le Manège.Mons en met de steun van de Stad Antwerpen) werd genomineerd voor beste regie (Guy Cassiers), beste acteur (Thierry Hellin) en beste scenografie (Tim Van Steenbergen).

Video — 11 May 2015

De essentie is de acteur die een gesprek aangaat met het publiek

Hilde Jansens en Wilbert van den Heuvel spraken met Guy Cassiers. Zij is arts in het Universitair Ziekenhuis Antwerpen en groot cultuurliefhebber. Hij is docent pedagogiek en reist regelmatig vanuit Nijmegen naar Antwerpen voor een avond theater in de Bourla. Zij legden aan Guy Cassiers hun zorgvuldig voorbereide vragen voor.

Video — 11 April 2015

Passions humaines

“Een beeldhouwwerk moet van een brug kunnen donderen en slechts zijn neus breken, zegt Michelangelo. Ik begrijp hem.” Jef Lambeaux in Passions humaines

Article — 27 March 2015

Horta-Lambeaux paviljoen opent zijn deuren voor publiek

Het Horta-Lambeauxpaviljoen in het Jubelpark (van architect Victor Horta) met daarin het indrukwekkende reliëf De menselijke driften (van beeldhouwer Jef Lambeaux) gaat op 28 maart 2015 open voor publiek. In de periode van het zomeruur kan het publiek het paviljoen opnieuw bezoeken op woensdag-, zaterdag- en zondagnamiddag. Voor de ticketkopers van de voorstelling Passions humaines van Guy Cassiers is er een mooi kortingstarief voorzien.

Article — 17 February 2015

De Franstaligen nemen het opnieuw over!

Voor het tweede seizoen op rij presenteert Toneelhuis een mooie selectie uit het aanbod van Théâtre National in de Bourla. Mét Nederlandse boventiteling, bien sûr.
Onbekend mag niet langer onbemind blijven!

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Guy Cassiers / Toneelhuis / de Koe