Jan Ritsema / Johan Leysen / Peter Verburgt [FR/BE/NL]

Wittgenstein Incorporated

Wittgenstein Incorporated
Wittgenstein Incorporated

28.04 – 30.04.2010

Impromptu philosophising

The Dutch version of the Kaaitheater production Wittgenstein Incorporated premiered on 7th February 1989, 20 years ago. Jan Ritsema already had the script by the Dutch writer Peter Verburgt on the table when the actor Johan Leysen came to see him and suggested they do something together ‘but this time not involving emotions, but thinking on stage’.

The script is a re-construction of three lectures the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) gave in Cambridge before the Second World War for a select audience of colleagues and close friends, including the writer Virginia Woolf, and is based on notes made by members of the audience and other works by Wittgenstein.

Wittgenstein paced up and down the room while philosophising out loud and in impromptu fashion – while allowing others to witness it. Wittgenstein Incorporated is a monologue in which Johan Leysen not only plays the role of Wittgenstein but also acts out the directing instructions and the rare responses of Wittgenstein’s audience. For Jan Ritsema and Johan Leysen ‘impromptu philosophising’ became the metaphor for ‘impromptu acting’.

Many of those who saw the performance twenty years ago still regard Wittgenstein Incorporated as a major point of reference: a performance that shows how fascinating thinking on stage can be. It is not only justifiable, but in fact essential for the memory of theatre to incorporate this performance in the ‘repertoire’ so that younger generations of theatregoers can experience it. Twenty years later this has finally come to pass. Together, Johan Leysen (who also appeared in a French version of the performance in 1990) and Jan Ritsema have picked up the thread once again. In 2009 they gave a long series of shows in Paris and in 2010 will go on a grand tour of France.

7:00 PM

What if you don’t want to go out too late or have plans for later in the evening? Want to go home by the last tram or bus (but one)? Come and see the show on Thursday 29th, at 7:00 pm! More info >>

text Peter Verburgt | direction Jan Ritsema | with Johan Leysen | production 1989 Kaaitheater | production rerun 2009 Centre Dramatique National de Thionville-Lorraine