The Fountainhead

ITA–Ensemble / Ivo van Hove

The Fountainhead

ITA–Ensemble / Ivo van Hove


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The Fountainhead is the fascinating portrait of the brilliant young architect Howard Roark, who follows his calling and sets himself up against those who spinelessly parrot the views of others; of Peter Keating, a fellow architect who sells his soul for commercial success and public esteem; of Guy Francon, a traditionalist who uncritically copies architecture from the past; and of the intellectual Ellsworth Toohey, who manipulates public opinion while slyly grooming the masses for a socialist takeover.

Duration: 4 hrs, with intermission
Language spoken: Dutch
English surtitles: thu 10 & 17 jan
Introduction: wed 09 & 16 jan
Aftertalk: thu 11 & 18 jan
Premiere 15 Jun 2014


‘The theme of my novel', said Ayn Rand, 'is the struggle between individualism and collectivism, not in the political arena but in the human soul. My aim in writing The Fountainhead was always to present a novel whose protagonist embodies the ideal man.’ That man is Howard Roark, a creative artist who, like a sun, is surrounded by less talented and easily influenced characters who envy him his genius and vocation. But equally, The Fountainhead is the story of the struggle between two lovers: between Roark and the beautiful, idealistic and uncompromising Dominique Francon – two likeminded spirits determined never to sacrifice their own liberty or autonomy.

Some were looking forward to it and some were skeptical: Ivo van Hove would be staging Ayn Rand’s controversial novel of ideas The Fountainhead. Should this provocative story written by the inspiration of right-wing America be staged at all? At the premiere at the Holland Festival in 2014, both the audience and the press were lost for superlatives to express what they saw.


'Van Hove puts on stage the philosophical storm surrounding the collective and the individual. He provides a fresh and complex rereading of Ayn Rand's novel, which has been in danger of becoming a one-line footnote to the neocon revolution. He also creates electrifying theatre in which word and spectacle find a perfect, symbiotic balance.' - The Guardian ****

'The Fountainhead (La Source Vive) offre quatre heures sans temps morts, absolument captivantes, qui vous embarquent et vous questionnent comme aucun autre spectacle jusque-là dans cette édition d'Avignon.' - Le Monde

'Surtout, Ivo Van Hove réussit de façon magistrale son adaptation de la Source vive, roman polémique de l’Americaine Ayn Rand. Merveille d’intelligence scénique, son spectacle laisse ouverts tous les débats.' - Libération

‘Ivo van Hove created a masterful construction. History is written here, for four hours on end.’ - Jury Theaterfestival 2015

‘A masterpiece’ - de Volkskrant ****

‘Formidable performance’ - NRC Handelsblad ****


Language NP Language no problem Ramsey Nasr Ramsey Nasr
Language NP Language no problem Halina Reijn Halina Reijn
Language NP Language no problem Aus Greidanus jr. Aus Greidanus jr.
Language NP Language no problem Bart Slegers Bart Slegers
Language NP Language no problem Hans Kesting Hans Kesting
Language NP Language no problem Frieda Pittoors Frieda Pittoors
Language NP Language no problem Hélène Devos Hélène Devos
Language NP Language no problem Hugo Koolschijn Hugo Koolschijn
Language NP Language no problem Maarten Heijmans Maarten Heijmans
Ivo van Hove
Ivo van Hove

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

In season 18|19, he will be directing A little life (Hanya Yanagihara) and Death in Venice
(coproduction Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest) and his directing of Small souls, The things that pass, The hidden force, After the rehearsal / Persona, Scenes from a marriage, The diary of one who disappeared, La voix humaine, The Fountainhead, Kings of war and The other voice will be reprised.

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Ivo van Hove about The Fountainhead

‘When I first read the novel the characters gripped me, each and every one of them humans of flesh and blood, and at the same time they are larger than life. They are symbols for ideas of grandeur: There’s the brilliant architect Howard Roark who follows his own ideals and dreams of a new world, a city of tomorrow. And then there’s Peter Keating, his colleague who constantly compromises and adapts his designs to fit the market’s demands. The battle between Roark and his adversaries is bloodcurdlingly well written.

To me, The Fountainhead is a war of ideas. The great question the book poses: What is creation? What does it mean to create? And what is integrity in the process of creating? The novel is set in the milieu of architects in Twenties New York, where the battle between modernism and classicism raged, but even today its questioning of creation is one that plays in our minds: The balance between the commercial and the innovative, the market and pure expression. Rand uses the architect’s world as a metaphore to discuss art, engagement, individualism and autonomy. But The Fountainhead is also a love story that tinkers at the edges of decency. A relentless love develops between Howard Roark and Dominique Francon, that shows the hardships of giving yourself wholly to another while maintaining your own integrity. At a certain point Roark states: ‘I could die for you, but I couldn’t and wouldn’t live for you.’ It is an engaging, addictive novel that was begginng to be staged.'


author Ayn Rand
adaptation Koen Tachelet
translation Erica van Rijsewijk, Jan van Rheenen
dramaturge Peter Van Kraaij
scenographer, light design Jan Versweyveld
composer Eric Sleichim
musician Christiaan Saris, Hannes Nieuwlaet, Yves Goemaere
video Tal Yarden
costumes An D'Huys
assistant director Nina de la Parra
dramaturge assistant Vera Hoogstad
assistant scenographer Ramón Huijbrechts, Roel Van Berckelaer
video assistant Rodrik Biersteker
music assistant Jenneke Obdeijn
casting advice Hans Kemna
privat producer Emmerique Granpré Moliere
head of technique & production department Wolf-Götz Schwörer
publicity Joris van den Ring-Bax
with thanks Oogappel, STOUT, Jeroen Sukel, Matthias Mooij, Niek Oostendorp


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