BELGIAN
BELGIUM
RULES



“It is possible that your nation is imagination.”

JOHAN DE BOOSE

“It is possible that your nation is imagination.”

JOHAN DE BOOSE



“Belgian afternoon”

JOHAN DE BOOSE

Belgian afternoon,

clappering shutters,

a locked house,

a wet bleak floor,

the grey sky, grey like a linen coat,

a closed garden,

hortus conclusus,

hunting birds,

the invisible color of dead leaves,

the desire to be unattainable.

 

Land this morning,

a heaven made of stone,

the dispersed sun, gardens full of rain and smoke,

a little girl says: look, a field full of devils,

because in her language pigeon and devil

differ only one letter.

 

The people live in dunes,

it dreams of honey and milk,

it chokes in the flour of the language.

 

Land that has no space beyond,

seasick land that remembers the holocene,

clay soil full of dodoes and oxes,

 

the field song of mankind, fossils,

and later: the written time, the countrybook,

a wonky land in which a woman wakes up.

 

Land today, tonight, of time immemorial,

land of complaints and promises,

land that breaks and weeps and waits.

“Belgian afternoon”

JOHAN DE BOOSE



“This is a land with bricks red as fire, with houses that smell like bread and beer, with hills that want to be mountains and rivers that want to be oceans, the land of sweet fear and guilty silence.”

JOHAN DE BOOSE

This is a land

with gardens

full of rain and smoke,

with shadows

of imaginary mountains,

with sundays

full of desire,

with a sky

coloured as silver,

with girls

who smell like the sea

and who laugh like water.

 

This is a land

with a heaven of stone

and women as fables,

with men who wear

a jacket of carbon and sweat,

with children

as birds of hope,

with walls

that have ears

and rain

that comforts

and heals.

 

This is a land

with bricks

red as fire,

with houses

that smell

like bread and beer,

with hills

that want to be mountains

and rivers

that want to be oceans,

the land of sweet fear

and guilty silence.

“This is a land with bricks red as fire, with houses that smell like bread and beer, with hills that want to be mountains and rivers that want to be oceans, the land of sweet fear and guilty silence.”

JOHAN DE BOOSE



“Belgium is not grey, the sky is not grey, it is silver.”

JOHAN DE BOOSE

Small Belgium doesn't exist.

Belgium is big. Belgium is great.

Belgium is beautiful.

Belgium is a piece of art.

 

Belgium is not grey,

the sky is not grey, it is silver.

 

O, I feel so at home in silver Belgium.

“Belgium is not grey, the sky is not grey, it is silver.”

JOHAN DE BOOSE



“Ik laat mijn pakje sigaretten altijd zien.
Ik rook overal mijn Belgasigaretten, dan zien ze dat ik niet van NYC ben en maak ik sneller contact.En dan vertel ik fier dat de Belgische surrealist René Magritte het pakje Belga ontworpen heeft.”

JAN FABRE

New York, 25 oktober 1980

Ik laat mijn pakje sigaretten altijd zien. 
Ik rook overal mijn Belgasigaretten, dan zien ze dat ik niet van NYC ben en maak ik sneller contact.        En dan vertel ik fier dat de Belgische surrealist René Magritte het pakje Belga ontworpen heeft. (En we zijn vertrokken, we kunnen praten en denken over kunst, daarom ben ik naar hier gekomen.)

“Ik laat mijn pakje sigaretten altijd zien.
Ik rook overal mijn Belgasigaretten, dan zien ze dat ik niet van NYC ben en maak ik sneller contact.En dan vertel ik fier dat de Belgische surrealist René Magritte het pakje Belga ontworpen heeft.”

JAN FABRE



“This is a landwith gardensfull of rain and smoke,with shadowsof imaginary mountains,with sundaysfull of desire,with a skycoloured as silver,with girlswho smell like the seaand who laugh like water. ”

JOHAN DE BOOSE

This is a land

with gardens

full of rain and smoke,

with shadows

of imaginary mountains,

with sundays

full of desire,

with a sky

coloured as silver,

with girls

who smell like the sea

and who laugh like water.

 

This is a land

with a heaven of stone

and women as fables,

with men who wear

a jacket of carbon and sweat,

with children

as birds of hope,

with walls

that have ears

and rain

that comforts

and heals.

 

This is a land

with bricks

red as fire,

with houses

that smell

like bread and beer,

with hills

that want to be mountains

and rivers

that want to be oceans,

the land of sweet fear

and guilty silence.

“This is a landwith gardensfull of rain and smoke,with shadowsof imaginary mountains,with sundaysfull of desire,with a skycoloured as silver,with girlswho smell like the seaand who laugh like water. ”

JOHAN DE BOOSE



“Waar er mossel met friet is 

 En ook kip aan het spit is

 Waar de kerk in 't midden staat 
 Waar de purperen hei bloeit 

 En het geld in het zwart vloeit 

 Waar men nauwelijks Nederlands praat 

 Waar een diploma geen zin heeft 

 En de koning geen kind heeft

 Waar de schuimwijnkoningin defileert 

 Waar het volk goedlachs is 
 
En een vuist zonder kracht is 
 ​
Waar men faalt en aan de toog expliceert 
”


RAYMOND VAN HET GROENEWOUD

“Waar er mossel met friet is 

 En ook kip aan het spit is

 Waar de kerk in 't midden staat 
 Waar de purperen hei bloeit 

 En het geld in het zwart vloeit 

 Waar men nauwelijks Nederlands praat 

 Waar een diploma geen zin heeft 

 En de koning geen kind heeft

 Waar de schuimwijnkoningin defileert 

 Waar het volk goedlachs is 
 
En een vuist zonder kracht is 
 ​
Waar men faalt en aan de toog expliceert 
”


RAYMOND VAN HET GROENEWOUD

 

credits-belgian-rules-belgium-rules

 

CREDITS BELGIAN RULES/BELGIUM RULES

 

Performance:

Annabelle Chambon, Cédric Charron, Tabitha Cholet, Anny Czupper, Conor Thomas Doherty, Stella Höttler, Ivana Jozic, Gustav Koenigs, Mariateresa Notarangelo, Çigdem Polat, Annabel Reid, Merel Severs, Ursel Tilk, Kasper Vandenberghe and Andrew James Van Ostade.

 

Concept and direction: Jan Fabre

Text: Johan de Boose

Music: Raymond van het Groenewoud (Belgian Rules and Vlaanderen Boven/Wallonie d’abord) and Andrew Van Ostade (all other music)

Dramaturgy: Miet Martens

Assistance dramaturgy: Edith Cassiers

Costume design: Kasia Mielczarek and Jonne Sikkema,

Les Ateliers du Théâtre de Liège, Catherine Somers (carnaval hats)

 

Intern assistant director: Nina Certyn

Intern costume design: Monika Nyckowska

Intern P.U.L.S. (Project for Upcoming artists on the Large Stage): Timeau De Keyser

 

Technical management: André Schneider

Production management: Sebastiaan Peeters

Light technique: Wout Janssens

Stage technique: Randy Thielemans and Kevin Deckers 

Sound technique: Howard Deckers 

 

(Inter)national sales: Sophie Vanden Broeck

Company management: Mark Geurden

Business coordinator: Joost Claes

Press and communication: Edith Cassiers

 

Production: Troubleyn/Jan Fabre (BE)

Co-production: Napoli Teatro Festival Italia-Fondazione Campania dei Festival (IT), ImpulsTanz Vienna International Dance Festival (AT), Théâtre de Liège (BE), Concertgebouw Brugge (BE) 

Troubleyn/Jan Fabre receives funding from the Flemish government and support from the City of Antwerp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOUR DATES

{
30 September 2017
01 October 2017
 
RomaEuropa Festival - Rome, IT
{
27 October 2017
28 October 2017
 
Teatro Central - Sevilla, ES
03 November 2017
 
Concertgebouw - Brugge, BE
{
07 November 2017
08 November 2017
 
Stadschouwburg Amsterdam - Amsterdam, NL
{
16 November 2017
18 November 2017
 
Het Toneelhuis - Antwerpen, BE
{
13 December 2017
15 December 2017
 
Humain Trop Humain - Montpellier, FR
{
21 February 2018
23 February 2018
 
LA ROSE DES VENTS - VILLENEUVE D'ASCQ, FR
28 March 2018
 
SCHOUWBURG - KORTRIJK, BE
{
20 April 2018
21 February 2018
 
KAAITHEATER - BRUSSEL, BE

 

BELGIAN RULES/BELGIUM RULES

Welkom in België! Bienvenue en Belgique! Willkommen in Belgien!

Theatre lay at the birth of this small country, and theatre is what this small country shall remain. Belgium is a country that is bursting with bureaucracy and forced formality. An artificial and unstable state, used as a stage for the wars of others. Everyone (and no one) speaks three languages. Three regions cover and divide this tiny territory. Welcome to Absurdistan! 

Belgians feed and feast on life. Chips! Beer! Waffles and chocolate! They revel in flesh. They dance with death. They believe in big bands, masks and carnival. This dwarf state is great in grand parades of giants.

 

Here the image guides you, where words whither. A small country forces you to look beyond borders. Imagination has always been an escape route. Grey skies and rain create a grateful canvas. Belgium forms a fertile soil for visual art.

Belgians strip reality. They share the eternal wink with their beloved characters from the bande dessinée. With their wit as weapon they wage war and maintain peace. Irony, but never cynicism, forms their armour. The Mannekens piss communally. No one laughs as loudly with the Belgians as they with themselves.

Belgium is a country of surrealists. Sur-real and sub-versive, they stack alternate realities upon each other. O dear Belgium, O (un)holy land of our fathers. Ceci n’est pas un pays.

 

This cockpit country is a frigid follower of rules and rulers. Here lives a race of shirkers and cheaters. They bend the law and stretch the order. The Belgian blood is bursting with resourcefulness and independence. 

But the Belgians are peaceful anarchists: over a glass of beer, with an open mind and an open view, the credo of the compromise reverberates. They burrow – up until their knees in clay, in this rugged potato land. 

Belgians carry a brick in their stomach. Flowerbeds and frilly curtains guard their sovereignty and singularity. Long live that legendary ugliness! Breaking through that banana smile doesn’t seem easy. But underneath the hedgehog’s prickly spine, behind the constant sighing, there is a soft, strokeable skin.

 

Don’t be caught off guard by the flags and the swaying of banners, by the booming bash you’re invited to join. The parable of this strange kingdom is not a story of nationalism – rather a story about the total absence of nationalism. Belgians are proud of their lack of pride. 

This misshapen, misplaced and mutilated country constitutes the magnificent middle point of Europe. Roll up the shutters and find a window onto this laconic land. Peer through the frame and see much more of the world beyond Belgian borders.

 

Jan Fabre pays homage to his motherland. Just as Fellini made his Roma, Fabre wants to celebrate his complex, crazy country. He uses the language best suited to grasp the spirit of this slippery state: that of theatre, that of the image. An international cast of performers and musicians searches for the Belgian identity and translates it into a travelling dance and theatre performance. Singer-songwriter Raymond van het Groenewoud provides the anthems; author Johan de Boose writes the text.

Edith Cassiers