Review Ondanks Alles

ArtEZ Hogeschool voor de Kunsten, ArtEZ Toneelschool, fourth-­year students, Arnhem, the Netherlands
Seen: June 21, 2009, Frascati, 16u
By: Marie Roofthooft
Translated by: Melvin Wevers

An actor as head of state, imagine that! And what if Jeroen Krabbe would be this potential, new head of stage? Ondanks alles [transl. Despite Everything], a performance by Artez Toneelschool Arnhem directed by Gillis Biesheuvel (Also known from Dood Paard) is a staging of De eeuw van mijn dochter [transl. The Century of my Daughter], the first play written by poet Ilja Leonard Pfeiffer, written in 2007 for Annette Speelt.

Jan Peter Balkenende is being buried and receives a flamboyant speech by Krabbe, put forth by Pfeiffer as one of the Netherlander’s most discussed actors. He wants to marry Balkenende’s wido in order te become prime-minister, yet he still needs to withstand Daughter Amelie’s temptations. In a tragedy of rhyming alexandrines Pfeiffer fires off his critique of Dutch politics. The gods Zeus, Athene, and Apollo look from above how this country sets its own downfall into motion.

Pfeijffer’s satire is interpreted exemplarily by the actors from Arnhem. Pfeiffer stages characters that are somewhat caricatural, however the consistent groteques actingstyle is convincing. Inbetween the five acts the acts serve drinks and snacks to the audience. This all takes place in a decor of silver ribbons and an abundace of bits and pieces. This leads hilarious scenes, although aiming for laughs slightly tones down the poignancy of Pfeiffer’s vision. Ondanks alles is admittedly an especially pleasant, yet alltogether not a very dangourous theaterexperience.

Regie: Gillis Biesheuvel
Acteurs: Nienke De La Rive Box, Judith Van Den Berg, Thirsa Van Til, Roland Haufe en Phi Nguyen

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