Kleine Zielen

ITA–Ensemble / Ivo van Hove

Kleine Zielen

ITA–Ensemble / Ivo van Hove


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In an extensive adaptation of The books of the small souls (1901-1903), we focus on a family that has seen better times. Various generations struggle to live together under one roof. Their large house is a haunted house, a madhouse and an infirmary all at once. All members of the family suffer in some way from trauma, disability and neurosis. They are ‘small souls’ bearing the burden of the choices they made long ago and which they are unable or unwilling to change.

Dutch spoken
English surtitles on thursdays

About the play

They all cling to Addy, a young doctor. He is married to Mathilde: a healthy woman who is in all senses the opposite of her in-laws. An outsider, who is tolerated reluctantly. The fact that Addy is more concerned about his family than about her puts their relationship under pressure. In this, they reflect the fate of Addy’s parents, who too are stuck in an unhappy marriage.

The situation seems hopeless. But hesitant attempts are made to escape the crisis. Will they succeed in openly discussing their disillusionments, desires and expectations? Will they gain a new vision on life?


'Wat dat is de kern van deze Kleine Zielen, de voorstelling waarmee Toneelgroep Amsterdam en Van Hove hun Couperus-trilogie besluiten: er is geen ontkomen mogelijk. Dat benauwende gevoel wordt gracieus en doordringend overgebracht in dit stemmige drama, een haasje-over van somberte en sprankjes blijheid, door een homogeen en sterk spelend ensemble.' - NRC ★★★★

'Deze enscenering is zo poëtisch (die taal van Couperus!), zo muzikaal (die stemmige, onheilspellende pianomuziek van Harry de Wit!) en esthetisch zo subliem (die zon die via buitenspots naar binnen schijnt op het decor!) dat je twee uur lang op het puntje van je stoel zit.'- De Standaard ★★★★★

'De Ruhrtriënnale beloonde Kleine zielen met een ovatie. Terecht. Formidabel ensemblewerk, een briljante scenografie van Jan Versweyveld en dito muziekscore van Harry Dewit zorgen voor een pakkende hedendaagse lezing van een meer dan honderd jaar oud boek.' - De Morgen ★★★★★

'Kleine zielen biedt een haast poëtische gemoedstoestand waar je dankzij het zeer overtuigende spel van deze groep acteurs, de muziek van Harry de Wit en het decor van Jan Versweyveld, heerlijk in kunt onderdompelen.' - Telegraaf ★★★★

'Ivo de Hove ist erneut ein Meisterstück gelungen. Eine echte Bravourleistung des Theaters. An diese Aufführung wird man sich noch lange erinnern. (...) Das Ensemble der Toneelgroep Amsterdam spielt mit einer unglaublichen Intensität und großer Präsenz.' - Westfalium


Language NP Language no problem Hélène Devos Hélène Devos
Language NP Language no problem Noortje Herlaar Noortje Herlaar
Language NP Language no problem Robert de Hoog Robert de Hoog
Language NP Language no problem Hans Kesting Hans Kesting
Language NP Language no problem Maria Kraakman Maria Kraakman
Language NP Language no problem Chris Nietvelt Chris Nietvelt
Language NP Language no problem Frieda Pittoors Frieda Pittoors
Language NP Language no problem Steven Van Watermeulen Steven Van Watermeulen
Language NP Language no problem Harry de Wit Harry de Wit
Ivo van Hove
Ivo van Hove

Ivo van Hove has been director of Internationaal Theater Amsterdam since 2001.

In season 19|20, he will be directing Freud (coproduction FC Bergman) and Who killed my father (Edouard Louis) and his productions A little life, Death in Venice, After the rehearsal / Persona, La voix humaine, Kings of war and Roman Tragedies will be reprised.

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Van Hove about Small souls

‘With Small souls (Kleine zielen), we will complete our triptych based on the works of Louis Couperus. Our ambition was to present Couperus as a contemporary. In 2015, we began with The hidden force, the focal point of which was the never-ending clash of cultures. Couperus ruthlessly describes how eastern and western culture are fundamentally irreconcilable, can’t approach each other further. In 2016, there was The things that pass, a symphony of doom about a family scattered all over the world. We situated it in an immense waiting room where escape is impossible, except through death. It was beautiful how Lot announces a new era at the end. We see this new era in Small souls, the closing piece of the trilogy. “Do we live here? I mean really live?,” Constance wonders. We see how a community of sick, tired, extinguished people in a gloomy house gradually find ways to heal. People who take small steps trying to be happy, trying to live. Marietje, the sickest of all, concludes: “I feel a new, different life in me. There is an energy in me… I want to follow it, I must follow it.” It is like the start of the golden age.’



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