" The Smile of Power"
Johan Simons, Director, Amsterdam Founder and director of the
internationally acclaimed "Theatergroep Hollandia".
He directs plays by contemporary writers like Heiner Müller,
Herbert Achternbusch and Tankred Dorst, Greek tragedies by Aischylos
and Euripides, as well as processing interviews, lectures and
newspaper articles into plays. Contradictory relations such as
nature vs. civilisation and periphery vs. centre are often the
subject of his work.
His group is renowned for their site specific projects: text-based
theatre in factories, locks and greenhouses. Johan Simons 'course
is closely linked to Zwei Stimmen, which is the opening performance
of the Academy: five portraits of contemporary leaders by Pasolini
are combined with a text of a sixth leader: the chairman of the
board of Shell, Cor Herkströter, who reflects on the moral
dilemmas and social responsibility of multinational companies.
The text of this 'character' has been derived from speeches and
articles by the Shell director. Simons wants to work with the
same theme as the performance: the moral of power. The students
are asked to bring speeches or texts by political leaders, managers
or other men or women in positions of power from their country.
The theatricality of these texts will be examined and they will
look for sites in the surroundings of Bochum, both contrary and
supplementary to their texts, where their specific text can be
"The world can be quite an unpleasant institution
Tamás Ascher, Director, Kaposvár He was trained
at Budapest's Theatre Academy. Since 1975 he has worked at the
Csiky Gergely Theatre, where he is Artistic Director. He directs
classical and contemporary plays, music theatre and opera. Since
1983 he has been working regularly at the famous Katona Joszef
Theatre (Artistic Director: Gábor Zsámbéki)
as well as abroad, e.g. in Lyon, Helsinki and at the Akademietheater
Tamás Ascher's productions have been seen at numerous
international festivals. Ascher is a mentor and person of reference
for Hungary's younger generation of theatre professionals. He
teaches at the Budapest Theatre Academy and each year meets up
in the country for a summer-month of intensive work with a group
of young theatre people and those who are aspiring to become just
that. "A play is like raw material for the inspiration, something
completely new may be developed. I am attracted by the grotesque
side of both the classics and the modern classics: how do we today,
fitted out as we are with nerves that may fit, be too small or
even too large for us, play the old conflicts?
During a short and intensive period of course work with young
actors, I begin by reading and analysing the scenes. Then through
acting and improvisation, we break away from the context, the
time and location of the play and start to invent new situations.
Continuing the play in the imagination, spinning threads into
the present, inventing new scenes - these are ways of expanding
the spectrum of methods with which a play is worked on. Thus,
a new play emerges, more substantial and rich in associations
than the original. And of course one needs a view of the world.
Each new scene which is developed represents a statement about
the world. Without ruthless self-knowledge, no clear picture of
a given scene can be achieved. In this process, the development
of acting skills is a rather incidental result."