Primeval and Other Times


Primeval and Other Times

ITA Ensemble / Hotel Modern / Guy Cassiers


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Primeval and Other Times
ITA Ensemble / Hotel Modern / Guy Cassiers

Guy Cassiers, together with Hotel Modern and 11 actors from the ensemble, creates the world of Primeval and Other Times: in models and live on several video screens, life in the village and the surrounding nature is created. The whole is a tableau vivant of epic proportions that does justice to the layered world of the novel.

Run time 180 minutes, incl. intermission
Genre theatre
Language Dutch
Surtitles English, Thu 14 & 21 December

Opening night Sun 10 December

Primeval and Other Times

Nobel laureate Olga Tokarczuk ingeniously brings to life a Polish village where residents try to survive the effects of two world wars, communism, and the advent of modernity. Several generations of villagers start families, build houses, and try to resist the violence of history and nature as best they can. Birth, growth, decay, and death affect all creatures - trees, spirits, and animals in addition to humans - and are described with compassion and gentleness. Tokarczuk shows that every human being is completely unique, searching for meaning and purpose.
Director Guy Cassiers gained fame with performances in which video plays a central role and in which the actors constantly switch between acting and storytelling. At ITA, he previously made Hamlet versus Hamlet (by Tom Lanoye), The Kindly Ones (after Jonathan Littell), May we be forgiven (after A.M. Homes) and Lehman Trilogy (by Stefano Cassini).

Hotel Modern is a Rotterdam-based collective that has made an international name for itself with performances that imaginatively depict great history using live video of models and puppets.

Maarten Heijmans and 'Ntianu Stuger in Primeval and Other Times by ITA Ensemble and Hotel Modern. Directed by Guy Cassiers. Photography Fabian Calis
Janni Goslinga and Minne Koole in Primeval and Other Times by ITA Ensemble and Hotel Modern. Directed by Guy Cassiers. Photography Fabian Calis
Guy Cassiers directs Primeval and Other Times at ITA (Internationaal Theater Amsterdam). Photograph by Lara Gasparotto

Guy Cassiers on Primeval and Other Times

"From a small Polish village, we follow the important events that shaped Europe in the 20th century. In a tender and disarming way, Olga Tokarczuk shows a swarm of voices searching for higher meanings in their harsh existence. The characters form a close-knit community but are driven apart by a violent history.

Tokarczuk sketches the world as a living, ceaselessly changing entity before our eyes, of which humans are a small but at the same time powerful part. Thus, in an almost fairy-tale manner, she makes us look afresh, through the eyes of some 20 villagers, at our current situation and our responsibility in it as human beings."


Language NP Language no problem Chris Nietvelt Chris Nietvelt
Language NP Language no problem Maarten Heijmans Maarten Heijmans
Language NP Language no problem Laura De Geest Laura De Geest
Language NP Language no problem Janni Goslinga Janni Goslinga
Language NP Language no problem Gijs Scholten van Aschat Gijs Scholten van Aschat
Language NP Language no problem Ilke Paddenburg Ilke Paddenburg
Language NP Language no problem Minne Koole Minne Koole
Language NP Language no problem Eelco Smits Eelco Smits
Language NP Language no problem Frieda Pittoors Frieda Pittoors
Language NP Language no problem Daniël Kolf Daniël Kolf
Language NP Language no problem ‘Ntianu Stuger ‘Ntianu Stuger
Michał, Ukleja
Izydor, the Bad Man
Squire Popielski
Lady Popielski, daughter Popielski, Adelka
Paweł, Kurt
Florentynka, midwife, Stasia
Eli, Ivan Mukta


de Volkskrant

"'Ntianu Stuger and Maarten Heijmans portray these characters with lightness, compassion and precision, and contrast all the violence of war with the immeasurable power of humanity."

Theaterkrant (Critic's Choice)

"Rarely have I seen such a large ensemble with so many great actors so humble and touchable."


"This collaboration between ITA Ensemble and Hotel Modern results in spectacular, eye-catching and unique theatre."

Primeval and Other Times by ITA Ensemble and Hotel Modern directed by Guy Cassiers. Photography by Fabian Calis


Read more about the production's author, direction, music, scenography and costumes in our digital brochure.

Guy Cassiers directs Primeval and Other Times at ITA (Internationaal Theater Amsterdam). Photograph by Vincent Delbrouck
Guy Cassiers
Guy Cassiers

Guy Cassiers (born in Antwerp, 1960) is considered one of Europe’s top theatre-makers. His idiosyncratic theatrical idiom in which he successfully marries visual technology with a passion for literature is highly esteemed within Belgium and throughout the world. He has been artistic director of Toneelhuis from 2006 - 2022.

In season 23|24 his direction of Primeval and Other Times (Olga Tokarczuk) will premiere at ITA and his direction of Lehman Trilogy will be reprised.

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Hotel Modern co-producer of Primeval and Other Times by ITA Ensemble and Guy Cassiers. Photography by Jan de Groen

Hotel Modern

Hotel Modern creates theatre performances in which maquette art, puppetry, drama and music are combined into intense visual stories. The artistic core is formed by Pauline Kalker, Arlène Hoornweg and Herman Helle. Scale models play a major role in their theatrical language: complete miniature worlds are built on stage, populated by hundreds of characters. With mini cameras, the players film scenes in these worlds, the images are projected life-size and soundtracked live by a composer. This working method offers unprecedented possibilities: Hotel Modern brings entire cities, spaceships and trench wars into the theatre. The imagery is evocative: a sprig of parsley becomes a tree, it rains from a plant sprayer, planets in an infinite universe are made of potatoes. Watching a performance of Hotel Modern is like watching an animated film and the making-of of the film at the same time. The audience sees how the illusion is created and becomes totally immersed in it. Filmed and projected, the images become hyper-realistic.


by Olga Tokarczuk
directed by Guy Cassiers
adaptation Peter van Kraaij
translation Karol Lesman
dramaturgy Peter van Kraaij
imagery and live animation Hotel Modern
models Herman Helle
light design Fabiana Piccioli
video design Bram Delafonteyne
sound design Jeroen Kenens
costumes Tim van Steenbergen
with thanks to Private Producers Dirk Raes and Helga Lasschuijt, Rob and Marijke van Oordt, and Hans Sauerwein
coproducer Hotel Modern


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