Mickery Theater

Mickery Theater: An Imperfect Archaeology

MIKE PEARSON
JAC HEIJER
LOEK ZONNEVELD
TRANSLATED BY PAUL EVANS
Copyright Date: 2011
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt6wp746
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  • Book Info
    Mickery Theater
    Book Description:

    This is the first full-length study of the history and working practices of the Mickery Theater in Amsterdam. Between 1965 and 1991, under its noted director Ritsaert ten Cate, Mickery became renowned worldwide for promoting and presenting significant international alternative theatre companies, and for staging its own innovative productions. Through a unique "archaeological" approach, combining archival research, oral history, and field observation, this book establishes the singular importance of Mickery and evokes the unique atmosphere of both the building and the activities it nurtured.

    "A superbly realized biography of an experimental theater. The full life of Mickery emerges through a rich assemblage of people and events."-Edward Scheer, University of New South Wales

    eISBN: 978-90-485-1410-6
    Subjects: Performing Arts

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-3)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 4-8)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. 9-10)
  4. FOREWORD
    (pp. 11-12)
    Sijbolt Noorda

    The location is Loenersloot, the time a spring evening in 1968. Amsterdam students are having a party here. I forget why, probably just for the fun of it, and I have only vague memories of what went on. Later I deduced it must have been at the Mickery place and the guy in charge must have been Ritsaert ten Cate, who later became one of my dearest friends. The occasion gained even more meaning: it was then and there that I met the woman who was to become the mother of my daughters.

    Mickery is well known in the Netherlands...

  5. PROBABLY NOT… AN INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 13-16)
    Arthur Sonnen and Otto Romijn

    The introduction to these archaeological excavations must, of course, begin with Ritsaert ten Cate’s mantra: ‘Probably not…’ which denotes the progressive character of his work. Every experience in his Mickery Theatre was an invitation for further exploration. No final conclusion was ever trotted out, at most a direction, a clarification, an approach; what was important in his work was an inventory of possibilities. Even a possible scenario for treating a certain problem was shunned; challenge was the aim. The jury report of the Sphinx Culture Prize, which he won in Maastricht in 1996, stated: ‘Ten Cate’s methods are both remarkable...

  6. PROLOGUE
    (pp. 17-33)

    The bare bones…

    In December 1965, Ritsaert ten Cate, a film and television producer and member of a wealthy Dutch textile manufacturing family, opens a small theatre in a disused cowshed next to the farmhouse where he lives at Loenersloot, a small community in the countryside between Amsterdam and Utrecht; it is also an art gallery and there are plans for a publishing house. He calls it Mickery, a combination of his own name and that of his wife at the time, Mik Staverman – Mi(c)k and (e)R(y).

    His aim?

    We want to do things here that have not happened...

  7. 1 RITSAERT TEN CATE
    (pp. 34-35)

    December 2007, Amsterdam

    It is a shaky start. I am casual in my attention to note taking and recording. I assume that our conversations will go on, and that over the months he will guide and direct me in writing the history of Mickery – his concept, his place, his achievement. I do not realise how ill he is, how fleeting our contact will be.

    It is on a visit with Arthur Sonnen to Touch Time, RtC’s studio and gallery that we meet for the first time in a long time. Also present is Erica Bilder, who is helping to...

  8. 2 IN THE ATTIC
    (pp. 36-38)

    It begins for me in the attic, with a battered green suitcase. In unsteady torchlight, I open it. And here are the surviving scraps of youthful ambition, all that I once considered important, thought worth keeping: undergraduate essays; archaeology textbooks; the programmes of student drama festivals; notes on Erving Goffman and R.D. Laing borrowed from a friend and never returned; a ticket for a benefit concert for Chapter Arts Centre featuring Pink Floyd; the first embarrassing attempt at writing a book – in multi-coloured felt-tip pens! All that remains of the years 1968–73 – random, jumbled, unstratified…

    And here...

  9. 3 OTTO ROMIJN
    (pp. 39-42)

    At Loenersloot, his first two tasks were ‘to clean up the mess and to clean out the youth hostel’. To identify, to reassemble, to rearrange and to discard discretely the pieces of art that had accumulated around the farm, in a process that took many weeks and included much misunderstanding. And to evict workshop members who were still in residence months after the event – ‘Nobody is doing anything. Free food and drink. It’s a bit too much.’ And RtC? ‘He was not able to send them away.’

    Workshop One, the first in a planned series of ‘experimental theatre projects’,...

  10. 4 IN THE ARCHIVE I
    (pp. 42-46)

    The inventory has been intimidating: a complete record, in Dutch, of the deposit of the ‘Stichting Mickery Workshop 1965–1991’. Fifty-five pages of lists of correspondence alone: to and from a ‘who’s who’ of alternative theatre. I decide to go with what I can recognise, the names of well-known artists and companies listed under ‘Produkties: Uitgevoerd’. I sit in the library overlooking the canal, snow in the air: in front of me a row of brown boxes and a pair of scissors. Each box bears a barcode and the label ‘Hulshoff Archiefbeheer’. I select ‘Mickery 1178–1180’ and cut the...

  11. 5 FRANS DE LA HAYE
    (pp. 46-49)

    ‘It was very informal’, he recalls of the barn. ‘There were four columns supporting the roof, it was a symmetrical roof. There was an open space; the people were already seated around a playground, a stage, on chairs and on ledges.’ But the move to Rozengracht presented a new challenge: how to organise and position the audience in a large room; and how to preserve intimacy.

    I had little to do with theatre; I didn’t see theatre, not this fringe theatre. I thought theatre was always on stage. It became clear to me right away that it wouldn’t be the...

  12. 6 IN THE ARCHIVE II
    (pp. 50-53)

    My notes read: ‘7 October 2008 – It’s all here!’

    Six months after my first visit, I sit at my desk reviewing my computer files, remembering the kind of reverie I entered in the Netherlands Theatre Institute as I encountered the fragments of past performances – half-remembered, already forgotten, known only by repute and rumour. The reminders to myself are in capitals:

    ‘QUESTION OF PRIVACY’ I am surprised again by the personal nature of correspondence to and from RtC that is embarrassing, revelatory, gossipy, cajoling, hustling – ‘I want to do this at the Mickery, and I’m open to everything...

  13. 7 PETER SCHREIBER
    (pp. 54-58)

    It was like a dream – ‘You don’t say no to Mickery.’ But it was never going to work, the plan to separate business from programming. After the move to Amsterdam, RtC wanted to concentrate on art – presenting theatre, making theatre – to withdraw fully from the day-to-day management and to put the organisation of Mickery into other professional hands. But that was barely possible in such a personalised institution – ‘RtC was Mickery, Mickery was RtC.’

    Only RtC ever appreciated what was feasible and what not. In seeing the work he wanted, in issuing an invitation at some...

  14. 8 A BUILDING
    (pp. 59-65)

    It is 8 October 2008 and we are standing between Dijkman Muziekinstrumenten and Supermarkt Roos outside 117 Rozengracht – Otto, Arthur and I. On the façade, beneath the balcony, there are carvings of four ruffed clowns; below them sit four bearded figures crushed into decorated frames, their fists pressed to their ears. The gold lettering reads ROZEN THEATER. This is the Jugendstil exterior of 117 Rozengracht. We are expectant, excited even. We have not been here for some time.

    The first photograph – on a Powerpoint presentation that the current theatre director subsequently gives me – shows a sepia image...

  15. 9 MAX ARIAN
    (pp. 65-68)

    The talk is of politics and criticism and the nature of memory – ‘I love thinking about Ritsaert and the Mickery’, he says. Not as nostalgia for times past or regret for opportunities lost, but as a constant source of inspiration – ‘Let’s not forgetaboutMickery.’ But in teaching our students we agree – ‘We should never tell them it’s already been done.’

    He outlines the political situation that paralleled Mickery’s emergence, though its original dinner-suited patrons would barely have acknowledged it. A radical student movement came into being early in the Netherlands, in 1963. In 1965–6, the...

  16. 10 A JOURNAL ARTICLE
    (pp. 69-71)

    It is 8 December 1965. The weather is foul. The opening is at midnight, the audience select – ‘theatre people, television bigwigs, and their shoulder-rubbing hangers-on’ (98). The cameras are there to film the crowd but as soon as their lights are switched off, the premiere turns chilly; the heating in the converted barn breaks down.

    Johnny Speight’sIf There Weren’t Any Blacks You’d Have to Invent Themhas already been filmed; in the photograph, two bulky cameras on wheeled dollies point at two actors who stand talking, face to face (95). The room is low, the ceiling pitched, the...

  17. 11 FAILED CONVERSATIONS
    (pp. 71-75)

    It was as an archaeology student in Cardiff that I first became aware of emerging alternative theatre practices. In December 1969, a friend from the student drama society gave me a copy of Jerzy Grotowski’s recently publishedTowards a Poor Theatre(1969). It was at the drama festival of the National Union of Students in Manchester in December that I saw Rowan Wylie from The Freehold Company demonstrate Grotowski’s exercise ‘The Cat’. Several colleagues participated in workshops run by Freehold and we returned home eager to make our own performances. In August 1970, Theatre-in-Transit as we called our student group...

  18. 12 REVIEWS: THE WORK OF JAC HEIJER
    (pp. 75-78)

    He writes for the daily press, though initially in a nearby city. Like a foreign correspondent, he brings reports of strange happenings in out-of-the-way places, for a readership unlikely to ever venture there. He creates word-pictures, succinct descriptions of events that they will not know through any other means; his father was, Rob Klinkenberg later informs me, a drawing teacher who taught him to look, and look again, before drawing. He learns to take everything seriously, at face value. Although he can be critical and caustic, he becomes an important supporter of new work and of the policies of Mickery....

  19. 13 JIM CLAYBURGH
    (pp. 79-83)

    He speaks of the practicalities of theatre production.

    The Performance Group first performed in the Bovenzaal at Mickery in 1974 withThe Beard. They brought nothing from New York, finding the few necessary objects, including a bale of hay, locally – ‘I don’t even think there was a soundtrack, or music.’ After 1976, they would morph into The Wooster Group and Mickery would become the base for their work in Europe, an analogue for the company’s ‘authorial space’ at the Performing Garage in New York that provided a similar ‘scenic footprint’. Performances were re-imagined there, duplicate sets for theThree...

  20. 14 REVIEWS – THE PERFORMANCE GROUP
    (pp. 83-87)

    Amsterdam – To the left and right are two rooms made of unpainted plywood; they have a perspective that makes them appear deeper than they are. Between both rooms there is a construction in which someone sits behind sound equipment. He operates tape recorders, a record player and speakers.

    This is the constructivist (everything is verifiable) ‘environment’ ofRumstick Road, the second part of the trilogy by Spalding Gray and Liz LeCompte from the Performance Group, from New York, which can be seen in Mickery Theater.

    The starting point is the suicide of Gray’s mother in 1967. What is presented...

  21. 15 PHOTOGRAPHS
    (pp. 87-90)

    Two books of black and white photographs, at least one image I initially assume for each production in the history of Mickery: from three men seated before cardboard gravestones inIf There Weren’t Any Blacks You’d Have to Invent Them(1965) to the dancers and musicians of Halau o Kekuhi from Hawaii at the Touch Time Festival in 1991 – evidence, schedule, testament. Weighty tomes of grainy likenesses: the unfolding roll call of a growing scene, famous productions, performances long forgotten; mugshots of a generation, familiar faces, the unfortunate dead; records of transitory episodes, of a world since gone –...

  22. 16 ROB KLINKENBERG
    (pp. 91-94)

    His talk is of influence and impact. As a schoolboy in the late 1960s, he had a teacher of Dutch language and literature who ran a theatre and, exceptionally, video club. She arranged a trip to ‘this strange theatre, where lots of things were happening’; ‘Someone in Loenersloot had decided to open his farm, his barn, to exotic groups.’ Even the critic inNRC, the daily newspaper that his family received at home, was enthusiastic. He thinks it was for the presentation of the first Mickery Workshop – ‘It was absolutely slaughtered in the press.’

    I do remember sitting on...

  23. 17 REPORTS
    (pp. 94-97)

    It is one of a series of small, published reports that includesDossier 1: Mickery in Amsterdam(January 1972–1979) compiled by Inez Hollenberg and Rob Klinkenberg;Dossier 6: Cloud Cuckooland(1979) with Henri Schoenmakers’s research on audiences for Tenjo Sajiki’s production; and a second volume ofDossier 4(1980) dedicated to Pip Simmons’sTowards a Nuclear Future(1979). They are printed on coarse brown paper and mainly in Dutch.

    Produced over a short period, their political purpose is evident. They make a persuasive case for alternative forms of theatre production, drawing together conceptual notes, photographs, scripts, reviews and studies...

  24. 18 ERICA BILDER
    (pp. 98-102)

    InThe Missionary and the Libertine(1997), Dutch author Ian Buruma describes the first time he saw the East – the imaginary east. It was at Mickery – ‘the headquarters of the international avant-garde, a kind of United Nations of world theater’ (xi) – in 1971, in the work of Japanese director Terayama Shuji’s company Tenjo Sajiki. He relates vivid impressions of performance – grotesque figures, disconcerting images, weird sounds, discordant music – without remembering the story ‘or even whether there was a story’. And of being swept along ‘from room to room’: ‘The Tenjo Sajiki took full advantage of...

  25. 19 A LECTURE
    (pp. 102-105)

    In a lecture presented on 22 January 2008 at the ‘L’impact de l’avant-garde américaine en Europe et la question de la performance’ international conference, Théâtre National de la Colline in Paris, RtC describes the significance of visiting American artists in the history of Mickery. Over a period of 25 years, he presents 120 different productions. He calls it a love affair.

    It begins with Nina Simone’s concert in Loenersloot, though more practically with Ellen Stewart’s phone call in December 1965 – ‘Hi, honey, I’m Ellen Stewart. I hear you have a theatre, so do I. We should get together because...

  26. 20 TITUS MUIZELAAR
    (pp. 105-108)

    He is a practical man of theatre. His parents were theatregoers with a passion for Harold Pinter; at the age of fifteen, they took him to Loenersloot to seeIf There Weren’t Any Blacks…He remembers the intimacy, the extreme proximity, the ‘black-tie’ atmosphere. And the possibilities it held:

    I stuttered, so theatre was one way to get it together. Every time I went to the theatre, it made me realise that there were possibilities for me to speak out. And I liked especially the Mickery productions because they were, in my eyes, very complicated. I saw it from the first...

  27. 21 IN HIS OWN WORDS
    (pp. 108-112)

    Through a glass darkly: as remembrance of times past, as ideas carried forward and still resonant. A man looking for words, but never lost for words: here are descriptions of experiences, passages of polemic, anecdotes, aphorisms. Andanalects: experiences of practice turned into parables, into pedagogy – ‘Just about every text I write is about the future’ (138).

    In his own words, what is revealed, in retrospect? The overriding sense is of time: the passing of time, the need for time, the pressure of time, the meaning of time, the waste of time, the perils of inertia – ‘Those able...

  28. 22 COLLEEN SCOTT
    (pp. 113-116)

    Her first contact with Mickery was as managing director of Theatre X. An early task was to provide bail for Jan Fabre and his visiting company who had been arrested for simulating male sex in performance, for Milwaukee was a ‘conservative, middle-class, white-bread’ city. In Amsterdam by comparison: ‘All the colours were still running, the rainbow still had three-dimensions, people still had that charmingly, naïve innocent optimism and everything seemed possible. Even for people who were older…’ At Mickery: ‘It was wonderful, magic.’ ‘Anything was possible; that was the feeling. You wanted a person, a thing, to do something, to...

  29. 23 A VIDEO
    (pp. 116-119)

    It begins as a gallery opening – with an art object to view, wine, a roving television crew with camera and lights, and a female reporter. At the centre of the room is the sculpture – a replica of a Romanballistaor mechanical crossbow – and a hanging sheet of glass. ‘Do you think it’s dangerous?’ the reporter asks members of the audience. ‘I’m sure it’s dangerous.’ ‘But you don’t mind?’ ‘Well as long as no one stands in front of it, it should be alright.’

    ‘How can an audience be manipulated before they know the facts?’ RtC had...

  30. 24 JANEK ALEXANDER
    (pp. 120-123)

    He can view it in close-up, and from a distance. The opening of Chapter – the multi-disciplinary arts centre housed in a former secondary school in the working-class district of Canton, Cardiff – coincided with Mickery’s move to Rozengracht. Both reflect an impulse of that period to house and present innovative artistic practices more appropriately. Over the 1970s, contact increased, culminating in the co-production of Pip Simmons’sTowards a Nuclear Future(1979). Appointed theatre programmer in 1981, he committed Chapter to closer cooperation – Spalding Gray, Bob Carroll, Leeny Sack had already appeared in Cardiff. Over the next five years...

  31. 25 A PRODUCTION PROGRAMME
    (pp. 124-127)

    Across the centre pages are four line drawings of Mickery – axonometric projections that look down into the space from an angle of 60 degrees and that imagine potential structural reconfigurations. Each image shows a different arrangement of performance and audience within a re-ordered architecture: located in the open-fronted Bovenzaal; in the newly constructed video-room directly beneath it; in the main hall; in the enigmatic ‘dug-out’; in the alcove; in the foyer. The pages are entitled ‘Mickery 3-dimensional’; the whole building has become a ‘theatre-machine’. Audiences are separated and dispersed. Action is distributed throughout the building, offering new articulations of...

  32. 26 JAN LAUWERS
    (pp. 128-131)

    They were at the festival in Polverigi in Italy. It was at a time when driving from Brussels and performing for one night in a tent, at an event organised with a single telephone, still made sense – ‘These guys were crazy. They did amazing stuff. I didn’t realise. I thought this is normal.’

    ‘We were on a hill. I remember the scene very well. Mike Figgis announced that he was giving up theatre to try his hand in Hollywood.’

    His own company Epigonen was presenting its final performance; he himself had already decided to return to making visual art....

  33. 27 A LETTER
    (pp. 131-134)

    He is tetchy, frustrated, resigned. His letter to Mickery staff is by turns cynical, challenging, confrontational. He is under pressure, tested both personally and professionally. He has spent Christmas elsewhere. A long endgame is beginning.

    In taking stock of practical manifestations of ‘Making theatre beyond television’, he proposes a number of options for Mickery’s future:

    1. Follow the trend. Programme opportunistically (not necessarily negatively), bring whatever it is that seems [to be]‘good theatre’; include, if and when applicable, theatre beyond television. Emphasis on running a theatre building, presenting good theatre.

    2. Main thrust, at the cost of most else, presenting as close...

  34. 28 PETER SELLARS
    (pp. 134-138)

    In ‘A text for Peter Sellars’ dated 8 March 1987, RtC writes:

    What is it we have with America? Or is it just me? This strange fascination with a place that seems either only half real, or goes over the top with reality. And measured by what, our so-called European normality? Or is it just difficult to cope with truth of extremes; an overwhelming scale of what humanity looks like, what we are, how we are, how we behave, what we are capable of. Good, bad, ugly, simple, complex, stupid, too clever by half.

    Later that year, Mickery co-producesAjax...

  35. 29 A RESEARCH PROJECT
    (pp. 138-142)

    In 1989, as part of a ‘stocktaking’ of the institutions that had appeared within the ‘independent’ scene, the Sommertheater Festival – based at Kampnagel, a former crane factory in Hamburg – completed an investigation of the working methods and artistic objectives of seven European arts centres, including Centro Inteatro (Polverigi, Italy), Mercat de les Flors (Barcelona, Spain), Chapter (Cardiff, Wales) and Mickery. Young German observers spent several weeks in each location. Eva Diegritz came to Amsterdam.

    She catches Mickery in its final phase, the building in Rozengracht now given over to Frau Holle: there is already a taking of stock....

  36. 30 THE PRODUCERS
    (pp. 142-147)

    It was at Mickery in 1980 that he first saw The Performance Group – shortly to be The Wooster Group – perform withPoint Judith(1980).

    I still remember that I was walking in Rozengracht, I don’t know to where, and just realising slowly in my head what an important performance I had just experienced.

    It was the beginning of two relationships: RtC would become a partner in programming international work; and The Wooster Group a regular visitor to Kaaitheater, to Brussels, and elsewhere – he would become their chief advocate in Europe.

    Mickery – ‘always seen as the place...

  37. 31 A WORKBOOK
    (pp. 147-150)

    Most of the plastic teeth on the white spiral binding of the A4 document are now broken, through age and usage; the cover photograph shows an empty ice stadium, the Fryslanhal in Leeuwarden.

    It is a complete set of instructions for how to create the scenography forGododdin, the large-scale site-specific performance project by Welsh theatre company Brith Gof and London-based industrial percussionists Test Dept. First presented in the disused Rover car factory in Cardiff, uk, in December 1988 as a Chapter production,Gododdinwas restaged several times during the summer of 1989 in key contexts within the emergent European...

  38. 32 JAN ZOET
    (pp. 150-154)

    As we sit in his theatre – the Rotterdam Schouwburg (City Theatre) – the talk is of beginnings, reinventions, and endings.

    It starts for him in 1984. As a student in provincial Leiden, it was Jac Heijer, teaching a course on writing criticism, who advised him to go to Mickery. Seeking voluntary work there, his first task was to replace the hinges on all the doors.

    I was not aware of the holiness or the mythical aura Ritsaert and Mickery had in the big part of the artistic world. I just came there and liked the work and Ritsaert was...

  39. 33 A MAGAZINE
    (pp. 154-157)

    Issue Zero (July 1985) is a folded broadsheet, edited by RtC and John Ashford, director of the dance venue The Place in London who writes the editorial:

    Why ‘Two and two’? Because when you stumble across a new realisation, it’s only through having put two and two together. Take two known notions from one area of experience; pitch them against two notions from another area of experience; and the result will hopefully not only modify both areas, but also lead on to the unknown. In this the first issue, we put two articles from the uk together and two from...

  40. 34 MARIJKE HOOGENBOOM
    (pp. 157-161)

    Her talk is of an experience mainly at second-hand, through involvement in visions and obsessions translated to, and fulfilled within, another context – DasArts.

    As a student in Germany, she knew nothing of Mickery; its primary effects were highly localised. Her contact came very late. But continuing her studies in Amsterdam in 1988, she answered a note pinned to the university notice board, for a job to ‘guard and guide’ Mickery’s video archive housed at Frau Holle. Once in the post, her task was to sort the large collection and to make it accessible. But Frau Holle as a concept...

  41. 35 A BOOK CHAPTER
    (pp. 161-164)

    In a chapter entitled ‘Hybrid Festivals. The Mickery Theatre: in search of a dramaturgy of fragmentation’ (119–37), Professor Henri Schoenmakers frankly struggles to locate the programme of Mickery within a proposed typology of theatrical events and festivals. But his long-term studies of audiences and their reception of Mickery’s various activities do provide him with unique insights into its presentational structures and dramaturgical approaches, and to recurrent concerns and themes. It is a valuable summary of equally long-term strategies.

    He identifies lineages of presentational format, notably recurrently towards what he terms – appropriately perhaps in this volume – ‘fragmentation’. In...

  42. 36 EARLY DAYS
    (pp. 164-173)

    He was for a short while involved in commissioning commercial promotional material and through this met RtC professionally for the first time; RtC was in his very early days an audio-visual producer for a leading Dutch TV production company. They instantly became good friends, even buying a 17th-century house together in Loenersloot, which they split between their respective families. ‘Family resources allowed RtC to start Mickery Workshop, a dream of multimedia multicultural presentations in a very old but for the purpose totally rebuilt farmhouse.’

    His partnership in an avant-garde gallery Seriaal in Amsterdam, with the co-founder, Wies Smals, strengthened the...

  43. 37 ANOTHER VIDEO
    (pp. 173-176)

    At the centre of the screen is a small wooden structure with an elaborate, tiled roof, set on a four-legged plinth against a grey concrete wall that shows traces of blackening: a shrine, bird table, garden ornament perhaps, that hints at Japan. The soundtrack seems to mix street noise and Buddhist chanting.

    He enters from the left, bald pate familiar, body thinner than some will remember, in blue short-sleeved shirt, arm naked, back towards us, face – his serious face – in profile. Eight times he extends his arm with great delicacy and precision to place objects, flowers in the...

  44. 38 A KEYNOTE
    (pp. 176-181)

    In August 1989, RtC opened a conference on international co-production at the Internationales Sommertheater Festival at Kampnagel in Hamburg. His text outlines the tenets of his own philosophy and that of Mickery, too. Apparent, too, are intimations of the unease that presaged his own change in direction and the closure of his venture. Its tone is by turn rhapsodic, reflective, cautionary and prescient; it is included here verbatim.

    This conference is about producers. Not about art. That’s okay as long as we keep the difference clearly in mind.

    There will always be artists; there will always be art. Art –...

  45. 39 EPILOGUES
    (pp. 181-185)

    In 2000 Ritsaert ten Cate left his post as director of DasArts to dedicate himself to his own visual art practice. He would spend a year in New York. In 2003, he would enrol as a student at the Rijksakademie. Later he would open a studio and gallery space in Amsterdam called Touch Time.

    ‘Touch Time’ is also the name of a website maintained in tribute –http://www. touchtime.nl. It contains his writings from the 1990s, and transcripts of the eulogies delivered at his funeral. Whilst there is little on Mickery, images of his major artworks are included en masse....

  46. POSTSCRIPT
    (pp. 186-187)

    Between its birth in the mid-1960s and its demise in 1991, Mickery served as an essential entrepôt and ‘observation post’ for new movements in theatre. In its policy and choices, it reflected the changing social, political and cultural conditions and contexts of that period, and their impact on performance form, subject and distribution.

    Mickery exposed Dutch audiences to contemporary advances in world theatre, demanding from them equally new ways of looking, experiencing and responding. And it supplied the Dutch theatre world – albeit partially – with new inspirations and influences.

    Mickery played an important role in nurturing, staging and advocating...

  47. A QUEST
    (pp. 187-190)

    Mickery itself has gone; it is difficult to imagine all that happened there from the current interior that was reordered and refurbished in 2004–2005. Futile, too, to attempt the wholesale recovery and restaging of past productions, however complete their record appears to be. For it is their world that has gone, all that made them meaningful at the time. What survives is a multitude of fragments: ideas, images, concepts, strategies, propositions…These at least we might reclaim from storage, and put into play once more.

    It is in the close scrutiny of these individual pieces, in the adhesion of this...

  48. THE REVIEWS OF JAC HEIJER

    • 1970

      • 1 ‘RATS MASS BY LA MAMA, GRIPPING HIGHPOINT IN REPERTOIRE’
        (pp. 191-193)

        Haarlem – One of the few blessings that the United States has enriched Europe with is new theatre. Over the last couple of years the companies that have been formed in New York include: Living Theatre, Open Theatre, Bread and Puppet Theatre and the La MaMa Repertory Company. They have all visited our country and anyone who has seen them perform will understand that something must, and can, urgently change in our own theatre.

        The audience for this sort of theatre is no longer a collective that watches from a distance, and the performers are no longer play actors who...

    • 1971

      • 2 ‘OUR SUNDAY TIMES BY TRAVERSE WORKSHOP COMPANY FROM EDINBURGH’
        (pp. 193-194)

        Loenersloot – It is an uncommonly flawless performance that the Traverse Workshop Company from Edinburgh is presenting in the Mickery Theater until April 12.Our Sunday Times, as the play is called, conveys a wealth of thoughts with the simplest means.

        The play is about loneliness, not in the sense of absence of interpersonal contact, but the loneliness of everyone who can only ultimately realise himself within himself; the loneliness of everyone’s death. This looks rather deep written down here, but the wonderful thing about the writer, Stanley Eveling, the director Max Stafford and the performers of the Traverse Workshop...

    • 1972

      • 3 ‘UNIQUE EVENT AT MICKERY’
        (pp. 195-196)

        Amsterdam – The company tse performedThe History of Theatrein the Noorderkerk for the Mickery Theater; it was a unique event. Tse is a group of Argentines that have been living and working in Paris for a number of years. Two seasons ago they were in the Netherlands withDraculaandGoddess, the first of which was on television. In April, the company is presenting a sort of thriller,Comédie Policière, at the request and under the auspices of the Thèatre National Populaire in Paris, which demonstrates that tse’s star is on the rise. And rightly so.

        InThe...

      • 4 ‘CARICATURED RACISM AS A TEST OF CONSCIENCE’
        (pp. 196-198)

        The George Jackson Black and White Minstrel Show– which premiered yesterday in the Mickery Theater – is a slap on the head for every well-intentioned white person who is sympathetic to the plight of discriminated-against black people. The Pip Simmons Theatre Group from London leaves no means unused to rub the noses of the white members of the audience into a number of extremely unpleasant propositions. Note well: Pip Simmons’ group is white.

        White people, suggests Simmons’ group, have subjugated black people to such a degree that they have grown too afraid even for revolution. (The show is equally...

      • 5 ‘“OPIUM WAR” IN MICKERY’
        (pp. 198-200)

        Amsterdam – For a while you think it is all nonsense: fumbling through chicken-wire fences, several metres high, that you continually have to step aside for. But once you have worked your way through all the irritation and annoyance, you are overwhelmed by a very exceptional experience:Ahensenso, a theatrical work by the Japanese company Tenjo Sajiki, which had its world premiere in the Mickery Theater yesterday. Of course, there are still people who will not accept that they have truly been won over, but it is doubtful whether they will still consider it nonsense. In any case, you go...

    • 1973

      • 6 ‘THEATRE COMPANY SERVES THE NEIGHBOURHOOD’
        (pp. 200-202)

        For fourteen days a theatre company can be seen in the Mickery Theater that is a classic example of what drama can signify socially for and in the neighbourhood in which the company is located. This company is The Combination, which was formed in an alternative cultural centre in the seaside resort of Brighton in 1967. From 1970 to 1972 the theatre company toured with a subsidy from the British Arts Council. In September last year The Combination settled in a radical community centre, The Albany in Deptford, which is a working-class neighbourhood near the old London docks. A neighbourhood...

      • 7 ‘THE IGNORANT AND THE INSANE IN MICKERY’
        (pp. 202-203)

        Amsterdam – Culture is a dung heap upon which the art of theatre and in particular its most artificial form, opera, positively thrive. It is not for ordinary people. The audience that goes to watch opera and other forms of theatre is blind. These are roughly the standpoints of the Austrian playwright Thomas Bernhard in his playThe Ignorant and the Insane, which premiered yesterday in Mickery, performed by the Theaterschool.

        The writer evidently loves his Austrian dung heap so much that he still wanted to create an evening-long work to propagate his critique. Sir will certainly be correct, but...

    • 1974

      • 8 Measure for Measure BY CAMERA OBSCURA
        (pp. 203-205)

        Amsterdam – There is only one just person still to be found in the world sketched by the American theatre company Camera Obscura inMeasure for Measure, an adaptation of the play of the same name by William Shakespeare.

        This one just person, the young girl Isabella, comes to a bad end. She is dragged along by the figure that governs this theatrical universe as though she were a helpless rag. Where Shakespeare pleads for humanity (in the application of the laws of the state), the director Franz Marijnen portrays a Sodom and Gomorrah, where monks, nuns, judges and heads...

      • 9 ‘FIRST CLASS THEATRE FROM PIP SIMMONS’
        (pp. 206-207)

        If the performance has been immaculately rehearsed,Draculais a first class theatrical experience, in which anyone with any feeling for horror can find just what they are looking for.Draculais being performed by the company Children of the Night (what music they make), which is primarily composed of English actors under the leadership of Pip Simmons. The production has been made possible thanks to the financial support of the Toneelraad Rotterdam. It premiered yesterday in the Piccolo Theater and in December can be seen in the Mickery Theater in Amsterdam.

        The performance closely follows the book by the...

    • 1975

      • 10 ‘FAIRGROUND BY CONCEPT THEATRE INVESTIGATES MANIPULATIONS’
        (pp. 208-209)

        Amsterdam – What they are now doing in the Mickery Theater is a fine idea. You sit with some 20 people on a small bleacher, approximately 3x3x3 metres. This bleacher is covered on all sides with black synthetic cloth. This can only be raised at the front. You are driven around on this cubelike platform on air cushions from one scene to another. At each scene you stop still; during the drive, film excerpts are sometimes shown in this claustrophobic space. Three of these cubes whoosh around and each of the three groups of audience is served a different programme,...

      • 11 AN DIE MUSIK BY THE PIP SIMMONS THEATRE GROUP
        (pp. 209-211)

        The Piccolo Theater in Rotterdam has been stripped of all its bleachers and decorations. It is a bare, black space. There are barrack benches provided for the audience. And on a sober stage there is a table, covered with a white tablecloth and a nine-pronged candelabra with the Star of David on it. Thus beginsAn die Musik, a ‘performance’ by the English Pip Simmons Theatre Group, based on an idea by Ruud Engelander.

        To begin, an ss soldier enters and announces an operetta in one act, entitledThe Dream of Anne Frank. Four completely exhausted musicians appear wearing black...

      • 12 ‘JOSTLING FOR THEATRE IN NANCY’
        (pp. 211-215)

        The Werkteater performed its satireThe Party for Nicoat the World Theatre Festival in Nancy in French. It was typical Werkteater, which above all is determined that its audience can understand everything. They performed for three evenings in a jam-packed circus tent that held more than a thousand seats. They had absolutely no difficulty in winning over the public, even if their French sometimes sounded very Dutch. The cry ‘Quelle fête! Quel ambiance!’ would become a grand slogan to the visitors at the festival. And the Werkteater received invitations in Nancy to perform at festivals in Belgrade and Rome...

      • 13 ‘THE CONCISE HISTORY OF A WORLD THEATRE FESTIVAL’ ‘Fear and Loathing in Nancy’
        (pp. 216-219)

        We thought that we were the most entertaining thing at the World Jamboree for Young Theatre in Nancy by some margin. Our patrol consisted of Ritsaert ten Cate (Mickery), Michiel Berkel (HP), Jean Paul Bresser (Volkskrant), Lien Heyting (NRC Handelsblad) and Jac Heijer (Haarlems Daglad). Hans Maarten Tromp (De Tijd&Plug) arrived too late to be able to take part; and so he left the festival confused, but with freckles.

        We were hardly out of each other’s sight. By night, at the festival’s animation centre, the Dragée, which was an old sweet factory. By day, on one of the terraces of...

      • 14 ‘PIONEERING GROUP IN MICKERY FOR THE FOURTH TIME’
        (pp. 219-221)

        Amsterdam – For three weeks, the Mickery Theater will be the domain of Tenjo Sajiki, the exciting theatre company from Tokyo, which is in the habit of surprising its viewers with poetical theatre images, but also scares the living daylights out of them with unprecedented violence. The group is here for the fourth time since 1971. After a 32-hour flight from Japan the 30 members of the group immediately set to work last Sunday afternoon till early Monday morning.

        The group has an iron discipline. Shuji Teyarama, the jack-of-all-arts who has led the group since the beginning in 1967, is...

      • 15 ‘REPORT OF A ROMANCE’ ‘10 Years of Mickery’
        (pp. 221-226)

        I have always been mad about theatre. At least since we performed the whole ofJoseph in Dothanby Vondel in the sixth grade at our desks in the village primary school, if not earlier (nowthatwas artistic education). But becoming a reviewer was the last thing I ever considered. After all, drama was something elevated and national criticism was something that you needed to have studied for. I thought that everything that those lady and gentleman actors placed before the footlights was wonderful. As long as it moved and could be understood, I felt that it was brilliant...

      • 16 ‘JAC HEIJER SHARES OUT PRIZE AMONGST THEATRE WORLD’
        (pp. 226-227)

        On Saturday afternoon our theatre editor Jac Heijer was awarded the Pierre Bayle Prize 1974, for the theatre sector. […]

        ‘Theatre must flourish if theatre criticism is to prosper’, stated the jury report. Between now and 1967, when the previous Pierre Bayle Prize for theatre criticism was awarded, great changes have occurred in the theatre world: ‘The critic can make a constructive contribution to a climate in which the theatre aims to repair the shaken trust of the public. Jac Heijer is an example of someone who has retained his faith in theatre’, the jury report continues.

        In the opinion...

    • 1976

      • 17 ‘PIP SIMMONS THEATRE GROUP RE-OPENS MICKERY’
        (pp. 227-229)

        The Mickery Theater has once again opened its doors. The theatre is more or less assured of sufficient national and municipal subsidy to continue this year. The director Ritsaert ten Cate has raced halfway around the world like a hare to conclude contracts. Yesterday, after a month and a half of silence, the first performance began:The Dream of a Ridiculous Manby Pip Simmons’ famous group from London. A high point.

        Last season Simmons’ group worked in Rotterdam. There, they called themselves Children of the Night and presented two productionsDracula, an entertaining horror spectacle andAn die Musik....

      • 18 MICKERY, NETHERLANDS, FOLTER FOLLIES
        (pp. 229-231)

        Amsterdam – You have to pay careful attention atFolter Follies[trans.Torture Follies], a large-scale production by Ritsaert ten Cate in the Mickery Theater. What actually takes place is simple enough; nobody could have any difficulty with that. But what you chiefly have to pay attention to is the manner in which you react yourself, an unusual assignment for a theatre audience. The performance seems to be about torture. But the real subject concerns the inner mechanism with which we process reports about atrocities. Ten Cate implies that we consume cases of torture like a pleasant TV quiz show...

      • 19 ‘CHEKHOV’S THREE SISTERS STRIPPED OF ALL DRAMATICS’
        (pp. 231-232)

        The Hungarian theatre commune, the Elephant Theatre, which emigrated to Paris eight months ago, is back in the Mickery Theater. The company was in Amsterdam earlier this year but had to break off a series of performances at the time because a few visas had not been arranged. They are now putting on an abridged version of Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov. In the play, the sisters from the Russian provinces circa 1900 are men, but they are not in drag. They sit together, wearing white trousers and shirts, on a small stage that is covered with a Kashmir rug....

    • 1977

      • 20 ‘PURE HORROR IN SPIRITUAL SQUAT BY THE SQUAT THEATRE’
        (pp. 232-234)

        Rotterdam – There is little to be said about the remains of the 19th-century Van Oldenbarneveltstraat (behind the Rotterdam City Playhouse). It will previously have been more stylish; the tram passes through it. The façade of number 129 consists of a shop window with a door next to it. The building is occupied by the Hungarian theatre commune, Squat, which left Budapest last year to live in Paris under the name Elephant Theatre.

        Ritsaert ten Cate brought the company to the Mickery Theater. The Rotterdam Theatre Council has granted Squat the opportunity to show work outside the theatre that is...

      • 21 ‘VOX POPULI, VOX DEI: CANONISATION OF LEADER VAN AGT’
        (pp. 234-236)

        Amsterdam – Over the last few months, mysterious posters have sprung up in Amsterdam consisting of simple texts in capital letters. It is the work of the ‘free paster’ and his epigones. What is certain is that the texts ‘I am profoundly convinced’ and ‘The voice of the people is the voice of God’ do not derive directly from the free paster. They belong to a great mystification around the Mickery productionVox Populi, Vox Dei.

        The real foundation Media Mundi is also part of this, including the ‘Commission for Positive Tendencies Van Agt’, which has garnered approval by means...

      • 22 ‘PIP SIMMONS’S POE IS PARABLE OF THEATRE ART’
        (pp. 236-237)

        Amsterdam, September 8th – The artist is one of the living dead. Art is a rabbit magically pulled from a top hat; a dead, skinned rabbit. The audience are rats gnawing at this cadaver. With these cheerful images, The Pip Simmons Theatre Group ushers you into the new season.

        Simmons presents a strictly personal vision in all of his work. He never reproduces the literary details that he usually bases his work on; he is a creative artist with a strange love-hate relationship with his medium, theatre.

        The Masque of the Red Death, which Simmons’ group of performers-musicians is currently...

    • 1978

      • 23 ‘STUART SHERMAN’S CITY PORTRAITS FULL OF IMAGINATION’
        (pp. 238-239)

        The American performance soloist Stuart Sherman numbers his spectacles. In the Mickery Theater he is presentingNumber 10: Portraits of Places. In eighteen short scenes he portrays eighteen residential centres, mostly well-known cities or combinations of them.

        The portraits have nothing in common with postcards, nor the atmospheric sketches that tourists would recognise. Amsterdam is represented by two folding tables, with the aid of a stone, a tiny pair of scales, two plastic bags, one of which contains scissors, a stick and a red, crumpled sheet of cellophane paper.

        He does not say what he intends with these objects. The...

    • 1979

      • 24 ‘A GREAT DEAL OF ADOLESCENT DISTRESS IN SPRING AWAKENING’
        (pp. 239-241)

        One of the schoolboys in Frank Wedekind’sSpring Awakening(from 1891) is named Hansje Rilow, a neglected loser who cherishes an adolescent love for his classmate Ernst, and is caught masturbating in a toilet.

        The Italian theatre maker Memé Perlini once performed this role in the short-lived period that he wanted to become an actor.

        Last year, Perlini staged a very personalSpring Awakeningwith his seven-year-old company La Maschera, from Rome, which can be seen from May 15th in De Zaaierkerk, opposite the Mickery Theater on the Rozengracht in Amsterdam. He no longer plays Hansje, but this character does...

      • 25 ‘THE ARTIST’S WORK IS THE CREATION OF ILLUSION’
        (pp. 241-243)

        Amsterdam, December 11th – Mabou Mines is one of the American theatre companies that do more than merely act out written plays. Just as with the Living Theatre, the Performance Group and Bob Wilson, the performance is an autonomous work of art. It is not merely a performance in the traditional sense; it is also its own metaphor.

        It is striking how literary the American avant-garde theatre has become, in the sense that text, content, form and performance comprise a unity that can be interpreted on different levels, like poetry or prose. The influence of branches of the arts other...

    • 1980

      • 26 ‘POINT JUDITH: HOT AND COLD NIGHTMARE’
        (pp. 244-246)

        Amsterdam – One of the most important theatre innovators of the last few years is the American Robert Wilson.

        He has had a great influence on the development of dance and mime in our country, where the innovation has opened up more than in drama. The innovation is primarily connected to the form, the most striking aspect of Wilson’s work. Now, formal innovation can rapidly lead to sterile aesthetics if the concrete ideas behind it remain too cosy.

        There is a great deal of brainwork and psychology in Wilson’s autobiographical work, but their content is not made directly visible on...

      • 27 ‘OVERLY DANGER-FREE THEATRE ABOUT HUMAN POWER-LESSNESS’
        (pp. 246-248)

        Amsterdam September 18th – Mickery’s director, Ritsaert ten Cate, is fascinated by the phenomenon of how the tremendous stream of information about what is taking place in the world does not really get through to us. His most recent production is once again an attempt to rub our noses into our indifference. Whether he succeeds in arousing the audience from its torpor, I doubt.

        A few seasons ago he made the productionFolter Follies, together with the American company Theatre X and others; it was a sort of multi-media quiz in which the audience was manipulated to such an extent...

      • 28 ‘REDHEUGH GIVES TENDER IMPRESSION OF MEMORY’
        (pp. 248-249)

        Amsterdam, November 14th – Three musicians sit beneath a cinema screen, as they used to do in an orchestra pit. To the left and right of the screen there is a room. One is old-fashioned and half in ruins; the other is new and neat. The wall clock and bookcase in each room are mirror images of each other. Along the front, in the middle, is a mound of peat dust: Mother Earth, from which people believed dead and forgotten sounds arise.

        This is how the surprisingly lit stage image appears inRedheugh, a Mickery production designed by Mike Figgis,...

    • 1981

      • 29 ‘HOLLAND FESTIVAL PRODUCTION BY THE MICKERY THEATER’
        (pp. 250-252)

        Amsterdam – Shakespeare’sHamlethas five acts. TheHamlet Portraitby Stuart Sherman has five transparent and five white cubes and five rectangular, black partitions, in each of which there is a white door in the form of the human figure.

        An oval has been sawn out at face height in the first of these human-doors. There are two square peepholes in this oval. This schematic mask-face has also been sawn out of the following four doors, repeatedly at a lower level. Looking from left to right, the face of this door-person sinks into the legs, so to speak.

        A...

    • 1982

      • 30 ‘RACISM OF AMERICAN CULTURE IN GROUNDBREAKING THEATRE BY WOOSTER GROUP’
        (pp. 252-254)

        Route1 & 9 by The Wooster Group from New York is a theatrical work of art about the cultural and intellectual Apartheid in the United States. It depicts the bankruptcy of social equality according to the law; the racism is deeply anchored in the thought and feelings of whites, as it is the world over. The performance is far removed from the didactic banality of political theatre. It is a painful masterpiece that touches the heart with its theatrical forms and at the same time exercises the mind with its numerous intellectual implications.

        The performance begins with the programme booklet,...

    • 1983

      • 31 ‘MERCILESS VISION OF SOCIETY AND ART BY A PESSIMISTIC MORALIST’
        (pp. 255-257)

        The characters in the cruel dramaKing Learare portrayed by Het Trojaanse Paard, the company of the Flemish director Jan Decorte, as petty bourgeois. In their short-sightedness they do the most terrible things to each other on the authority of a higher power, in this case the genius playwright William Shakespeare. We do not get to see the work of art of a great writer, but rather the incapacity of the citizen to recognise this work of art, or art in general. Decorte extends this lack of understanding to society, where we are all wolves together. Decorte is one...

    • 1984

      • 32 ‘WHAT ELSE IS THEATRE OTHER THAN THE AWKWARD IMITATION OF OTHER PEOPLE’S PLAYS’
        (pp. 257-259)

        The Flemish director Jan Decorte was going to performUncle Vanyawith his company Het Trojaanse Paard, but halted work three weeks before the premiere and created something different:Scenes/Fairytales. The thrust of the performance is not all that different, if one views Chekhov’s play as the report of a closed company of desolate common folk who are not able to break out of their Sartre-like hell. It is only in terms of forms thatScenes/Fairytalesdoes not resemble a play, by some margin.

        Furniture, and projection and sound equipment, have been arranged on the performance floor according to the...

      • 33 THE POWER OF THEATRICAL FOLLIES BY JAN FABRE IN THE HOLLAND FESTIVAL
        (pp. 259-261)

        At the beginning and end ofThe Power of Theatrical Folliesby Jan Fabre, a text is used fromPenthesileaby Heinrich von Kleist, to the music of the Swiss Othmar Schoeck (1927). Here, there is mention of ‘Kusse, Bisse, dass reimt sich’. According to Kleist, a kiss and a bite are mutually interchangeable for someone who loves with the whole heart; the lover ‘kann schon das Eine für das Andere greifen’ (can grasp the one or the other).

        Kissing and biting with love; this contradiction draws a tender sadomasochistic line through the four-and-a-half-hour-long performance. Fabre makes repeated use of...

    • 1985

      • 34 REMBRANDT AND HITLER OR ME, A MICKERY PRODUCTION
        (pp. 261-263)

        The Mickery production,Rembrandt and Hitler or Me, is a substantial, complex theatre work in which Ritsaert ten Cate provides a vision of life, death and the fading of moral values. In this multi-media performance’s form I recognise Ten Cate’s personal, undogmatic style, which is also evident from his writings.

        They are full of good ideas, but are seldom clearly formulated. This is the result when you want to explain too much at once. When I think I have understood something the spectacle repeatedly escapes me. Ten Cate’s style can indicate unclear thinking, but also the confusion that overcomes anybody...

    • 1986

      • 35 ‘SPILT MILK IN PIECES’
        (pp. 263-267)

        […] The American Mel Andringa, in collaboration with the writer John Herbert, makes an exceptional sort of theatre. It always deals with visual art, art history and theory, made transparent with simple examples. Andringa usually performs as a professor who chatters to himself and is slightly tormented, yet still blessed with self-mockery. In this performance he uses slide projections, texts and acts to process a host of philosophical ideas, which seem to fit together like jigsaw pieces. It is no wonder; Andringa is fascinated by the jigsaw puzzle.

        He is currently performingSistine Floor Planwith John Herbert and a...

      • 36 ‘HILARIOUS PORTRAIT OF AMERICAN HYSTERIA AND PARANOIA IN THE MICKERY THEATER’
        (pp. 267-269)

        On certain occasions, though too infrequently, I arrive home after a performance filled with an intense longing to possess a different pen, a different medium and a different manner of expression. To tell you aboutThe Road to Immortality (Part Two)by The Wooster Group, I would have to do a dance, half stoned, half drunk, bewildered and yet still with my wits about me.

        The performance begins as a relaxed evening of literary readings. Nine men and a monitor sit at a long table with piles of books before them, works by and about such figures as William Burroughs,...

      • 37 ‘EARTHQUAKES AND TEDDY BEARS IN EXPRESSIVE MICKERY PROJECT VESPERS’
        (pp. 270-270)

        Vespersare a meditative prayer service in the Catholic and a few other churches. They are held in the late afternoon and therefore Ritsaert ten Cate has also given his vespers version the subtitle ‘a sunset sort of thing’. Perhaps this sunset also refers to the end of civilisation because the theme of this Mickery project is once again everyday indifference to the horrors of the world, which reach us via the media.

        The stage image displays churchy elements: a supper table at which someone is eating, a several-metres-high T made of wood, in which a TV monitor has been...

    • 1987

      • 38 ‘NEED TO KNOW: ‘EPICUREAN” THEATRE IN THE MICKERY THEATER’
        (pp. 271-273)

        As the titleNeed to Knowalready suggests, this Dutch-Flemish theatre production possesses a philosophical basis: the need to know. This cannot be seen directly from the performance itself. It is true that the spectator is offered a key, but he can do little with it unless he afterwards opens the encyclopaedia to Epicurus. Of course, the spectator can also call upon his associative capacity and deduce the meaning of the performance by chance.

        Firstly a tv programme is shown that had previously been used in Mickery’sKidnap. In this programme, a number of American ex-politicians, ex-CIA officials and multi-national...

      • 39 ‘POLITICAL ADAPTATION OF SOPHOCLES’ TRAGEDY UNDER PETER SELLARS’S EMOTIONAL DIRECTION’
        (pp. 273-276)

        ‘The place of action is America. The date: a very near future. America has just achieved a very great victory in Latin America. The leftist forces have been definitively defeated. It has been a long, bloody war, characterised on the American side by (…) a far-reaching animosity between some generals.’ The play that is thus introduced is entitledAjaxand was written more than 2,400 years ago by Sophocles. It was adapted and transferred to America by the New York playwright Robert Auletta.

        Ajax is the somewhat dumb scrapper from the war between the Greeks and the Trojans. The goddess...

      • 40 ‘A RUSSIAN DACHA DRAMA IN ROTTERDAM’
        (pp. 276-283)

        Since Chekhov’sCherry Orchard(1904) and Gorky’sSummer Guests(1905) it has been impossible to imagine Russian drama without the dacha. It is only there that one is able to express oneself freely. In the most recent dacha drama,Cerceauby Viktor Slavkin, a wistful group of Soviet citizens yearns for friendship in such a country house.

        The audience sits on either side of the performance area. In the middle there is a black wall, which stands at 90 degrees to the audience. On one side of the wall, the set designer I. Popov, a pupil of the great Czech...

    • 1988

      • 41 ‘THE HISTORY OF THE MICKERY THEATER IN PHOTOS’ ‘Addicted to Memories’
        (pp. 283-286)

        I can never really do nostalgia. When I have an attack of homesickness for the past, I immediately have to satirise my fine feelings. Memory, after all, is a mechanism for distortion. When leafing through the photo album,Pictorial, which is as thick as a telephone book and tells the history of 22 years of the Mickery Theater in black-and-white photos, many of the prints remind me of previous great excitement. But would I react so emotionally if I were to see the respective performances again now?

        In 1972, La MaMa from New York performedMedeain ancient Greek (Euripides...

    • 1989

      • 42 SHATTERHAND MASSACRE-RIDERLESS HORSE BY JOHN JESURUN
        (pp. 286-288)

        John Jesurun, the New Yorker who has been invited by the Mickery Theater, drew the material for his performance,Shatterhand Massacre-Riderless Horse, from American history: pioneers on their way to the Wild West were attacked by Indians, and wolves were supposed to have brought up stray orphans. The threatened family: a typical myth of white America. Countless Hollywood films are variations on this theme. Indians, escaped murderers, extraterrestrial aliens, they are all intent on undermining the cornerstones of white society, not to mention sharks (Jaws) and birds (The Birds).

        This collective paranoia is present in Jesurun’s play, but – and...

  49. TOUCHING TIME AND MOVING WITH THE PRESSURE OF THE TIMES. ON THE LAST YEARS OF THE MICKERY THEATRE
    (pp. 289-309)
    LOEK ZONNEVELD

    Fragments – 5 September 2008. On the night after Ritsaert ten Cate died, Peter Schumann’s Bread and Puppet Theatre suddenly appeared on my screen. The Maestro was being commemorated, embraced and sorely missed on the website. Some short films immediately followed about recent work in progress, in the surroundings of Vermont. An exuberant testimony: we’re still there! A nighttime journey through our e-mail correspondence transported me back a couple of years. I had been part of Ritsaert ten Cate’s audience for a number of years, without writing about Mickery; there were other people doing that for theGroene Amsterdammerat...

  50. INDEX ARTISTS, COMPANIES and PRODUCTIONS
    (pp. 310-313)
  51. Back Matter
    (pp. 314-314)