Begin the Beguine was the last play the legendary filmmaker John Cassavetes wrote – for Peter Falk and Ben Gazzara – before his death. This bleak and glimmering allegory named after the Cole Porter-evergreen about love and death, Eros and Thanatos, never got further than the preparatory stage. It was never performed.
The present production of Begin the Beguine is the result of an exceptional cooperative project by Faces Distribution Corporation and Needcompany. The German publisher S. Fischer Verlag asked Jan Lauwers to take on the task of staging this masterpiece for the first time since it was written more than 25 years ago. The first version was produced in collaboration with the Burgtheater in Vienna in 2014. hTh – CDN Montpellier invited Jan Lauwers to make a second version with Spanish actors from hTh. Gonzalo Cunill and Juan Navarro will be entering into confrontation with Needcompany members Romy Louise Lauwers and Inge Van Bruystegem.
An apartment at the end of a street by the sea. With a seaview, despite the covered windows. They have just settled in, possibly forever, or just for the weekend: Gito Spaiano and Morris Wine. With their last breath of life, both men are stuck in some way or another. Stuck in their friendship as well as in life. They want to enjoy themselves to the fullest for the final cut. As such, they order women – prostitutes – in the dim light of their bedroom. They wait and philosophise. Gito wants sex, Morris pines for emotion and elusive love. However: “If the dark is nothing but the absence of light, love is at least a crack of the door.”
“John Cassavetes is one of the most interesting artists I know. His humane approach to art has always had a profound influence on me. In the ‘images’ he created he was not only deeply human, but also entirely individual. Cassavetes has been one of the rare, genuine mentors in my life.” – Jan Lauwers
Gonzalo Cunill, Juan Navarro, Romy Louise Lauwers and Inge Van Bruystegem
French translation Dominique Hollier
Spanish translation Antonio Fernandez Lera
Dutch translation Sarah van Camp
Humain trop humain – CDN Montpellier
Recreation of a production by Burgtheater (Vienna) & Needcompany, March 2014.
With the support of the Flemish authorities.
Performance in Dutch, Spanish, French and English, subtitled