Simon Stone has relocated the central fishing village in Op hoop van zegen to the arrival hall of an airport, where family and friends await the return of their loved ones. With fast, razor-sharp dialogue, he transforms the ultimate Dutch drama classic into a story from and about our time.
Australian playwright and director Simon Stone’s debut in the Netherlands was his overwhelming version of The wild duck. He wrote a new Medea at the commission of Internationaal Theater Amsterdam. His large family epic, Ibsen House, was inspired by themes from the work of the eponymous Norwegian writer.
Stone has cornered the market on the adaptation of established classics. He updates from the inside. For each piece, he goes in search of its inalienable core. With fast, razor-sharp, cinematic dialogue, he translates the basic problems into a conflict that plays out in our time. It gives his pieces a topical relevance. At the same time, they are a testimony to a human condition that has remained unchanged over the centuries.
This season, Stone will be working with Op hoop van zegen by Herman Heijermans. This ‘play of the sea' from 1900 is probably the most staged piece of all time in the Netherlands. In its time, it was a sharp social indictment. Heijermans wanted to force passage of a law that would prevent greedy ship owners looking for an insurance payout from sending unseaworthy ships into the water. But the play is also a tragedy of fate. The isolated fishing community has no choice: they are the prisoners of the sea. Fishing is their only chance of survival. The sea giveth (fish), the sea taketh away (lives). With the most famous and proverbial sentence in the play: “The fish comes at a high price”.
Op hoop van zegen will premiere in deSingel (Antwerp) and will be shown in Amsterdam in June as part of the Holland Festival.
after Herman Heijermans
text and direction Simon Stone
with Janni Goslinga, Maarten Heijmans, Hugo Koolschijn, Achraf Koutet, Maria Kraakman, Chris Nietvelt, Ilke Paddenburg, Bart Slegers
dramaturgy Peter van Kraaij
scenography Bob Cousins
light design James Farncombe
sound design Stefan Gregory
assistant director Daniel ’t Hoen, Sally Merres
co-production DeSingel , Les Théâtre de la Ville de Luxembourg
private producer Rob and Mirjam van den Bergh, Hendrik Jan ten Have and Gabriella de Rooij, Willem and Paula van der Schoot-van Voorst
production leaderMichiel van Schijndel
publicityJoris van den Ring-Bax