De Parade [BE]



29.10 – 31.10.2009

Rudolf von Hapsburg and Charles Darwin

De Parade never lets go of the world. In Mayerling, the new text by author and director Rudi Meulemans, contemporary questions from the world and science are translated into theatre and fiction. As always, the storylines he plots are varied, rich in content, filled with facts and scientific ‘evidence’.

The first storyline begins as a historical thriller. In 1889, Hapsburg Crown Prince Rudolf, son of Franz Joseph and Sisi, together with his mistress Mary Vetsera is found dead in the Mayerling hunting lodge. Murder or suicide? The circumstances surrounding their death were – probably not by accident – never cleared up. Until in 1991, when Austrian furniture maker Helmut Flatzelsteiner appears on the stage and a forensic investigation into the mortal remains of Vetsera is again conducted…

The second main narrative line concentrates on the life of Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution, of which Crown Prince Rudolf was a fervent supporter. 2009 is Darwin Year: he was born 200 years ago, and 150 years ago the book On the Origin of Species was published. It unleashed a revolution in the science of the time and continues to define our thinking about humankind and its history. But more than these anniversaries, the importance of Darwin's thinking is underscored today by the challenges levelled against it by supporters of creationism and intelligent design. Due to his scientific research and the death of his ten-year old daughter Annie, Darwin, to the sorrow of his wife Emma, increasingly turned away from belief in the existence of a – just – deity.

The storylines of Rudolf of Hapsburg and Charles Darwin become entwined with the personal lives of three characters who appear as narrators: a journalist, a taxonomist and an art historian fascinated by issues of belief.

In the staging, Hilde Wils works with three actors who have never acted with De Parade before: Charles Tuytschaever, Tibo Vandenborre and Jorre Vandenbussche. The permanent core of De Parade actors (Tom de Hoog, Ina Geerts, Johan Heestermans, Caroline Rottier, Andreas Van de Maele, Hilde Wils) will be indirectly present. In film fragments, directed by Rudi Meulemans, they read historical documents that give scientific support to the stories. And allow the contrast between knowledge and fiction to become the central theme of Mayerling.

text Rudi Meulemans | direction Hilde Wils | with Karel
Tuytschaever, Tibo Vandenborre, Jorre Vandenbussche (on stage), Tom de
Hoog, Ina Geerts, Johan Heestermans, Caroline Rottier, Andreas Van de
Maele (on film) | dramaturgy Marianne Van Kerkhoven (Kaaitheater) | light Kim Rens | graphics Casier/Fieuws | production De Parade (Brussels) | co-production Kaaitheater