Cliënt E. Busken

Cliënt E. Busken
09 Feb '22 to 25 May '22
ITA-ensemble / Maria Kraakman
1+rank € 38.50 / 1st rank € 35.50 / 2nd rank € 33 / 3rd rank € 28 / 4th rank € 22.50 / 5th rank € 10

Maria Kraakman will make her debut as director with Cliënt E. Busken, a monologue played by Gijs Scholten van Aschat and musician Jip van den Dool. The text is based on the latest novel by Jeroen Brouwers. Against his will, E. Busken resides in the closed ward of an elderly care facility. He feels he is treated like a toddler and refuses to speak. He surrenders to a stream of memories and observations of his fellow residents and the care staff. Is he rambling, or is he – as he claims – still of sound mind? Is he remembering real memories, or is he imagining this richly filled life?

Starting time 7.30 p.m.
Duration 90 minutes, no intermission
Location Grote Zaal
Language Dutch
With English surtitles on Thursday
Premiere 14th of September 2021

Ivo van Hove: 'Sometimes projects are too good to put on the back burner. When Gijs showed me this very personal story of one of the grandest contemporary novelists, I didn’t hesitate for a second. I told him: “This is something we have to do, and as soon as possible at that. We are given glimpse of what it is like to be old in this day and age”. Gijs then adapted the novel for the stage. And things got even better when we learned that Maria was prepared to make her debut as a director with this play'.

Maria Kraakman: 'It is a fate that awaits most of us: we get old, our bodies deteriorate, we slowly become isolated and have to rely on strangers for care, waiting for the inevitable end… Thank goodness we have Jeroen Brouwers! He has created a festive and razor-sharp monument of language, that manages to keep even death at bay, comforts us and makes us laugh, and shows us that, in the realm of our thoughts, we are truly free. I am delighted that we have been given the opportunity to give shape to this universe of the mind that is Cliënt E. Busken.'

-|-Gijs Scholten van Aschat: 'When I was reading this book, I immediately saw the potential for making this into a play. The main character, E. Busken, is no longer able to do anything. Everything has been taken from him, all he has left are his thoughts, which he shares with us. He is in the final stage of his life, in which reality, dreams, and memories become indistinguishable from one another. This edifice of language is what we get mixed up in. Jeroen Brouwers has, to quote E. Busken, “an almost religious sense of language, with a variety of words akin to a flower garden". When I was adapting the book, this made me crave the addition of music. To escape the language for a bit. But also to get closer to the main character, through the music of his youth. In this play, I hope to combine my two great loves in my profession. Language and Music. For the mind and the heart'.

program brochure

Read more about the text, direction and scenography in our digital program brochure.

To the brochure


after the book by
Jeroen Brouwers
scenography and light
Bart van Merode
Rebekka Wörmann
private producer
Joost en Marcelle Kuiper, Paula en Willem van der Schoot
assistant director
Maria Luttikhuis
assistant scenography
Django Walon
casting advice
Hans Kemna
head of technical department
Reyer Meeter
production leader
Inge Zeilinga
head of artistic bureau
Ulrike Bürger-Bruijs
technical producer
Joost Verlinden
technical staff
Arist Richartz (1e inspiciënt), Paul van der Zouwe, Sander van Elteren, Timo Merkies
costume department
Wim van Vliet (head)
set construction
Dim Balsem, Fabian Calis
graphic design
Serena Kloet
Iris Istha
with special thanks to
Tony Decap en Mildred Aikema
Gijs Scholten van Aschat, Jip van den Dool


To visit this performance you need a valid COVID admission ticket. This can be a negative test result, a vaccination certificate or proof that you have recovered from corona (proof of recovery). You must convert one of these into a QR code in the CoronaCheck app or a print via Only then will you have a valid COVID admission ticket.



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