The young archaeologist Esther returns to her home village to carry out an investigation into a mysterious grave. The bones of five women have been found, which hint at a much larger story. What follows is an evocative, magical and intuitive quest for the potency and knowledge of a group of women from the past along with the question as to why this knowledge and potency have been lost. A story unfolds in which we see that the bond between women and the knowledge that they themselves bear can prove stronger than death.
Run time 120 minutes
Language Dutch, English
Surtitles Dutch, English (+ Arabic Fri May 13)
This performance contains strobing effects.
In Gesprek Fri May 13
The idea for the show started with a lullaby that director Eline Arbo remembered from her childhood. Uti vår hage (In our gardens) appears to be an innocent enough summation of plants and herbs. It was not until much later that she found out that it was a recipe for a drink to induce an abortion. The naive children's song turned out to be a form of oral tradition that women used to preserve and pass on knowledge and at the same time keep it under lock and key. Hidden in plain sight.
The song became the common thread in an existential production wherein a young woman sets out in search of her native soil, her mother and her history. But most of all, for something that she suspects exists, but what she cannot put into words. An impossible quest, as you can never know what you do not know.
For Arbo, this theme is linked to the same question that has preoccupied her for some time: how did this society become the way it is? As she herself says, "I would like us to take a critical look at our society, at the culture and the systems that we take for granted. We find it perfectly normal to live the way we do now, but how did it end up this way? What has happened in history that makes us live like this? And what have we lost as a result?-|-Although the production touches on the persecution of witches that actually took place in the late Middle Ages, Witch Hunt is as such not an historical reconstruction. Witch Hunt is a metaphor for the destruction of valuable knowledge, of roots that connect us to the past.
For Arbo, it was just as important to create a production from the perspective of the female gaze, wherein her story and her history take centre stage. After all, if we want to rediscover lost knowledge, we must also allow those voices that may well harbour that knowledge to have a greater say.
Arbo: "Esther realises how the events are bound up with her own personal story and that she must try to understand the past in order to be able to let go of things. This also holds true for the collective trauma of the persecution of witches; we must try to understand the past and how certain systems have surfaced and continue to affect our society. Perhaps we will learn something from this."
In the press
"Witch Hunt is surrounded by mystery and undeniably gets under your skin." - Theaterkrant
"The live music performed by drummer Nina de Jong and keyboardist/vocalist Rosa Ronsdorf, sometimes bombastic and sometimes subdued, is impressive." - Scènes
"Brilliant design, super music and clever choreography" - Dagblad van het Noorden
"The feeling that you have seen and heard something special." - Dagblad van het Noorden
"Witch Hunt shows, in black and white colour shades, that women are much more, can do much more." - Friesch Dagblad
"Poetic exaltation piece" - Friesch Dagblad
direction and adaptation Eline Arbo
text Hannah van Wieringen
choreography Camilo Chapela
composition Thijs van Vuure
set design Juul Dekker
costume design Rebekka Wörmann
lighting design Varja Klosse
dramaturgy Thomas Lamers
directing assistence Ludy Golstein
featuring Sarah Janneh, Joost Bolt, Bram van der Heijden, Angela Herenda, Rosa van Leeuwen, Bien de Moor, Adam Peterson, Igor Podsiadly, Rosie Reith and Jesula Toussaint Visser.
music Rosa Ronsdorf and Nina de Jong
After living in Paris for years, a woman, played by French star actress Isabelle Huppert, returns to the family estate where she grew up with her brother. It is about to be sold because of debts.
Due to its great success, the thriller The Nation is returning to the theatre. The six-part theatre marathon about a mysterious disappearance was written like a Netflix series for the stage: current, witty and full of nerve-racking cliff hangers.