Theater Malpertuis interviewed Toneelhuis maker Mokhallad Rasem about his new production Zielzoekers (Soul Seekers).
When different Toneelhuis makers get the urge at the same moment, separately from one another, to create work about the same subject, then that calls for specific action. Refugees, migration, integration and the urban super diversity that goes along with it are not only the keywords of the present social debate, they make an appeal to Toneelhuis makers as citizens and as artists, and suddenly all of the questions related to this pop up in the heart of the artistic work itself: How do we want to treat each other? What are the values that we want to, or ought to, share? How much difference can and do we want to deal with?
We want to enter into a conscious discussion on all of these questions together with you, our audience, in a programme of related productions that address these issues each in their own way and by activities that answer these questions with a fresh approach.
Guy Cassiers is directing Grensgeval (Borderline) after Die Schutzbefohlenen by the Austrian writer Elfriede Jelinek. In this play she puts her ear to the confusion that prevails in Europe about the arrival of refugees. (1)
Zielzoekers (Soul Seekers) by Mokhallad Rasem gives refugees themselves the opportunity to speak. Rasem stayed for six weeks in the refugee centre in Menen. From the film footage he shot there, he distilled the material for his installation and performance. (2)
During the series of performances of Grensgeval and Zielzoekers, introductions and aftertalks with opinion makers will be organized in collaboration with a newspaper. (3)
Together with Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen, a collection drive is being started. (4)
In the meantime, Toneelhuis is working with the journalism department of AP University College Antwerp on the project CTZNS.eu, a digital platform that gathers positive (citizens’) initiatives. (5)
On 16 June 2017, Toneelhuis and Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen are co-organizing Kunst op de Vlucht 3.0. (6)
In the autumn of 2017, Guy Cassiers is making the production Mister Linh and His Child after the eponymous novel by the French author Philippe Claudel, a touching story about war, migration, traumas and friendship. (7)
Beyond Borders is a European project of Toneelhuis in collaboration with Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam (NL), Le Phenix, Valenciennes (FR) and Temporada Alta, Girona (ES). The subject matter of Beyond Borders is an intrinsically European issue and the collaboration with our European partners can raise the project to a higher level: Grensgeval will be shown in different countries with international dance students studying at a Belgian or French dance academy. Different language versions of Het kleine meisje van meneer Linh (NL, FR, EN, DU, SP) will be developed with local actors. Valenciennes, Amsterdam and Girona are working with journalism students in order to add their local citizens’ initiatives to the European digital platform CTZNS.eu. Local initiatives for the benefit of refugees are also being set up by the partners in the Netherlands, France and Spain.