In 1809, Goethe wrote Die Wahlverwandtschaften. He places four characters – a married couple, their niece and a friend – on a country estate, and he observes their reactions. Will they succumb to their whims, their passions, the so-called laws of nature? What are their decisions rational? Do they have free will? In other words, this is a kind of 19th-century Temptation Island, and even back then, the end was just as catastrophic.
De KOE and Lineke Rijxman from mugmetdegoudentand have now written a new Wahlverwandtschaften. Again we see two women and two men on a country estate, but the climate is incomparable. In Goethe’s age, nature was a space without people: we depended on it but it did not depend on us. In 2019, nature trembles and shakes because of what we have done. How will the two couples fare, now that we can no longer blame nature for our whims and desires? Will it be as catastrophic? Or even more catastrophic?
• De KOE is the theatre company of Willem de Wolf, Peter Van den Eede and Natali Broods, and they have appeared on the Kaaitheater stage several times. This year, the company is celebrating its 30th anniversary. The Amsterdam-based group Mugmetdegoudentand was founded by director Jan Ritsema in 1985. In 2015, Mug presented Hannah en Martin at the Kaaistudios, a memorable dialogue between Willem de Wolf and Lineke Rijxman.
van en met Lineke Rijxman, Natali Broods, Willem de Wolf & Peter Van den Eede | gebaseerd op de ideeën van Die Wahlverwandtschaften van Johann Wolfgang Goethe | decor, licht & geluid Bram De Vreese & Shane Van Laer | muziek Ramses Van den Eede | kostuums Julie De Meester en Jente De Graef | een co-productie van de KOE & mugmetdegoudentand | met de steun van de Tax Shelter maatregel van de Belgische Federale overheid met de hulp van Gallop Tax Sheltern in coproductie met Het Laatste Bedrijf | met dank aan Wannes Gyselinck en Ans Van den Eede