De Gehangenen (Hanged)

Josse De Pauw & Jan Kuijken

CREATION April 2011

De gehangenen [the hanged persons] are the doubting Thomasses, who dare to ask questions aloud. For them, what is already known or is written in stone is not enough. They search because they want to know for themselves. Their attempts do not get them thanks. They must often pay for their curiosity with their lives.

On set, the musicians of the Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie (Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia) play one of Jan Kuijken’s compositions, a musical story that creates a field of tension through the interaction of the orchestra, actors, singers, and voice and sound recordings. Two actors and three singers hang above the musicians’ heads. Josse De Pauw has written both spoken and sung texts for them. The Latin songs are pleas for mercy, fearful lamentations, but also broad narratives that provide context. The actors’ text, written in Dutch, articulates the thoughts and feelings of explorers, scientists and the curious. Their findings alternate with well thought-out accusations addressed to the leaders that judged them. De gehangenen is an homage to all those who were hung, tortured, burned or locked away for their visionary ideas.

Like Galileo Galilei, who was under life-long house arrest by order of Pope Urban VIII from 1633 to his death in 1642 because he claimed that the Earth revolved round the sun. It wasn’t until 1992 that his name was cleared by the apologies of Pope John Paul II. This same Pope waited until 2000 to express his regret regarding the execution of Giordano Bruno, who was burned at the stake as a heretic in 1600 for his theory that the sun was just one of an infinite number of stars in an infinite universe. Bruno was never vindicated. In his words: ‘Maiori forsan cum timore sententiam in me fertis quam ego accipiam’ [Perhaps you, my judges, pronounce this sentence against me with greater fear than I receive it].

CREDITS

TEXT & THEATRE DIRECTION Josse de Pauw
MUSIC Jan Kuijken
CONCEPT Josse De Pauw & Jan Kuijken
DRAMATURGY Geerdt Magiels

LIGHT DESIGN Enrico Bagnoli
MUSICAL DIRECTOR Etienne Siebens

TRANSLATION (in Latin): Bart Claes, Dirk Sacré
COPYIST Wim Hoogewerf
SUPERTITLES Erik Borgman

ACTORS Tom Jansen, Hilde Van Mieghem
SINGERS solistes VocaalLAB Nederland
Janneke Daalderop (soprano), Ekaterina Levental (mezzo soprano), Steven van Gils (tenor)
MUSIC Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie
CELLO Jan Kuijken
GENERAL COORDINATION Valerie Martino
TECHNICAL COORDINATION Oliver Houttekiet
PRODUCTION MANAGER Kristel Deweerdt
PRESS AND COMMUNICATION Esther Ooms

PRODUCTION LOD
COPRODUCTION KVS, Théâtre National Bruxelles, Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg, Le Maillon Strasbourg, Maison de la Culture d’Amiens, Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie and VocaalLAB Nederland

WITH THANKS TO Ignace Bossuyt

PHOTO © KURT VAN DER ELST