MaisonDahlBonnema & Needcompany [NL/BE]
Ricky and Ronny and Hundred Stars – a Sado Country Opera
12.03 – 13.03.2010
On a permanent high
MaisonDahlBonnema is the name adopted by the duo of Hans Petter Dahl and Anna Sophia Bonnema. Their first opera, The Ballad of Ricky and Ronny – a pop opera, opened at the Kaaistudio’s in October 2007 and was selected for the 2008 Theatre Festival. With Ricky and Ronny and Hundred Stars – a Sado Country Opera they are opening a new musical register.
In this opera the victim, suffering and the problem of involvement play a central role. Ricky, Ronny and Hundred Stars find themselves in a moral universe where the best intentions can turn into the opposite and the personification of evil appears to be radiating beneficial vibrations. For the time being, the outcome is that the charlatan figure seems to have the best chance of survival. To get a perspective, they reach for the stars. Detached as if in a near-death experience, they skim over their everyday experiences, not quite in sync with them, as if they were on a permanent high. Their antipole or point of fixture is the inner chambers found in their brains. The setting is Paris and the rest of the mental world.
Ricky and Ronny and Hundred Stars suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. A whole series of traumatic events form the basis of the new opera. Hundred Stars appears as the scintillating, disruptive presence of the eternal killjoy, a floating presence, keenly aware of all the damage and ignominy even the slightest touch can bring. By talking about the suffering, and through the pleasure and enjoyment – the eternal and inevitable accompaniment to our sublunary world – they are guided towards a sadistic system in which they appear to completely lose their grip.
Sado-Country as a music style for the new opera: complete and utter sorrow and the aggressive pleasure of wanting to feel this sorrow by singing or talking about it. A world nourished by day-to-day worries and moral dilemmas and the eternal endeavour to do good. Dream on.
'Hans Petter Dahl and Anneke Bonnema skate along the boundary between the everyday and the absurd, between love and alienation. The intimacy expressed in their stage presence is a sample of vulnerability that has little to do with theatre.'
Etcetera, January 2008
'The Ballad of Ricky and Ronny is an extreme performance both in design and content.'
De Morgen newspaper, 11 December 2008
'For Bonnema and Dahl, the primary aim never seems to be to challenge the limits of the performing arts – it sort of happens along the way – but to present their ideas through the intimacy of the human encounter. That’s precisely why The Ballad of Ricky & Ronny is a both humorous and touching depiction of the abundant society and the pursuit of individual happiness.'
Dagens Nyheter, 5 October 2008, daily newspaper in Sweden
MaisonDahlBonnema is the name adopted by the duo of Hans Petter Dahl and Anna Sophia Bonnema. Since 1999 these two artists have played an important part in the productions by Jan Lauwers and Needcompany. Earlier in his career, Hans Petter Dahl was a co-founder of and performer in the Norwegian cult group BAK-TRUPPEN. In 1995 Dahl and Bonnema founded the Love & Orgasm performance group. Since then they have created about ten performances combining musical composition, visual art, literature and theatre, either together or in collaboration with other artists. Dahl and Bonnema are constantly redefining themselves: from Love & Orgasm to L&O Amsterdam to MaisonDahlBonnema – which opened in 2003 as a virtual concept house that launched new collections of ideas in the form of clothing, music, video and words. Their performances display a radical preference for juxtaposing theatrical elements independently alongside one another. The audience itself is often part of the whole setting too. Dahl and Bonnema do everything themselves: writing, composing, stage design and the performance itself.
concept Anna Sophia Bonnema, Hans Petter Dahl | with Anna Sophia Bonnema, Hans Petter Dahl, Louise Peterhoff | libretto Anna Sophia Bonnema | music Hans Petter Dahl | costumes, lights MaisonDahlBonnema | animation Jan Bultheel | production Needcompany | co-production Theater aan het Vrijthof, Euregionaal Opera- en Muziektheaterfestival (Maastricht), Bit Teatergarasjen (Bergen), Noorderzon/Grand Theatre (Groningen) | in collaboration with Kaaitheater (Brussels), Könstnärsnämden (Stockholm) | support Vlaamse Overheid, Norsk Kulturråd