The hidden force


The hidden force

ITA-ensemble / Ivo van Hove


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The hidden force
ITA -ensemble / Ivo van Hove

The hidden force is an enthralling story about the misunderstandings and incomprehension between cultures, as well as between close relatives. The downfall of Otto van Oudijck makes us painfully aware of the impossibility to fully understand others.

After your registration, you will receive the link to the stream in your confirmation e-mail. You can watch it online on 19 January 2022 between 12:00 and 24:00.

duration 2:00
language Dutch spoken, no subtitles

ITA joins the protest

On 19 January, various theatres and museums in the Netherlands will be taking action to reopen our doors. We, too, are extremely disappointed that we are one of the last sectors to be forced to remain closed, while we have previously demonstrated that we can safely open our doors. We join the collective statement that the Dutch theatres and museums must open!

We want to give everyone the chance on 19 January to get a taste of how special and exciting theatre is. That is why we will be presenting the performance The hidden force from 12.00 continuously on a large screen in front of our entrance at the Leidseplein in Amsterdam. For those who don't have the chance to come to Leidseplein, we are making The hidden force available for free as an online performance from 12:00 noon to midnight. Anyone can register for this via the above REGISTER button.

We miss our audience tremendously. Together with other theatres and museums, we are taking action in the hope that everyone will soon be able to enjoy all the beauty in our theatres again!

Kind regards,
Ivo van Hove
Margreet Wieringa

Ivo van Hove about The hidden force

‘Couperus is the most global author from our literature. He addresses themes that far transcend the Dutch border, they regard the whole world. In a completely freed, non-moralizing way, he writes about searching and restless people that straddle two centuries. People who say farewell to old certainties and learn to deal with a new world full of questions and without answers. He is not afraid to also show the dark sides that are concealed behind the façade of civilization: explicit sexuality, adultery, paedophilia, incest and hysteria.

The hidden force
takes place in the Dutch Indies, but tells a story that is universal. The focal point is the tense relationship between two cultures that irreconcilably stand opposite each other. The hidden force is generally regarded as a poetic and mental power. It is, but it is especially a power that is destructive. I feel attracted to the ‘existential unrest’ – like Bas Heijne aptly called it – in the work of Couperus. I want to bring him to the stage as a contemporary, as someone who strikes the nerves of our 21st century in his work.’

The clash of two cultures

1900, Java. Otto van Oudijck governs his province with vigour. He sees himself as the representative of a superior European culture. He lives for his work. For the colony, which he wants to bring to a higher level. He is oblivious to the fact that his wife is having affairs with other men. But when Van Oudijck dismisses a local regent for misconduct, mysterious things start to happen in his house and around him.

Ivo van Hove’s staging of Louis Couperus’s masterpiece revolves around the clash of two cultures. One is seemingly open, rational and bureaucratic. The other is concealed, magical and mysterious. The westerner dominates and controls, but he can’t fight the hidden force of the east, which imperceptibly permeates and wears everything out.

Otto van Oudijck experiences this personally. He decisively governs his district on Java. His life is dedicated completely to his mission: to bring prosperity to the people. It makes him blind and deaf to the needs of his family. Nor has he an eye for local culture and traditions. A conflict with the local officers evokes forces that are too much for this colonial. He slowly loses all of his certainties and all he holds dear.

-|-This wear and tear literally takes place on stage: the actors can do nothing but surrender to the tropical environment with natural elements raging across the stage. In the soundtrack, western piano music is affected and discolored by eastern percussion and edited nature sounds.

The hidden force
(De stille kracht) is a visionary novel that places western culture opposite eastern culture as being irreconcilable. The powerful Dutch colonizer is unable to deal with the hidden force that is present in the background and is slowly causing damage. The Western man dominates and controls, but turns out to be unable to get to the core of the East and conquer the culture of the Indies. What is left is a powerless western man in the Indonesian forest.

The hidden force
is not only one of the great masterpieces of Dutch literature, it is a world-class book with which Couperus proves he can effortlessly stand next to great contemporaries such as Emile Zola and Marcel Proust.

In the press

‘Die politische Brisanz des Stoffs wird nur angedeutet, der Schatten des weissen Hadschis wächst noch nicht zum fundamentalistischen Schrecken. Doch in den fernen Verhältnissen, die das Theater spielend heranholt, glimmen die Zündschnüre für die Brandherde der Gegenwart.’ – Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

‘In The hidden force, Ivo van Hove found the material for a genuine classical tragedy. One where fate strikes ruthlessly.’ – De Standaard ****

‘bilderreich und ökonomisch, emotional und reflektiert zugleich, was übrigens auch für das sehr gute Ensemble von Schauspielern gilt’ - Deutschlandfunk

Ivo van Hove
Ivo van Hove

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

In season 22|23, he will be directing My Heavenly Favourite (Marieke Lucas Rijneveld) at ITA and his directing of Age of rage, A little life, The Damned, Battles and metamorphoses of a woman, Kings of War and Who killed my father will be reprised.

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Barry Emond Soenario, regent of Laboewangi en Ngadijwa
Halina Reijn Leonie van Oudijck
Esther Scheldwacht De Raden-Ajou Pangeran
Eva Heijnen Doddy van Oudijck
Gijs Scholten van Aschat Otto van Oudijck
Maria Kraakman Eva Eldersma
Jip van den Dool Theo van Oudijck
Aus Greidanus jr. Frans van Helderen
Massimo Pesik Servant
Michael Schnörr Servant
Mingus Dagelet Addy de Luce
Rob Malasch Servant
Dewi Reijs Oerip
Vanja Rukavina Si-Oudijck


director Ivo van Hove
author Louis Couperus
adaptation, dramaturge Peter Van Kraaij
scenographer, light design Jan Versweyveld
music Harry de Wit
choreographer Koen Augustijnen
costumes An D'Huys
casting advice Hans Kemna
coproducer Ruhrtriënnale
privat producer Joost en Marcelle Kuiper, Anda Winters
costumes department Farida Bouhbouh, Wim van Vliet
supported by ammodo

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