Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ivo Van Hove on Criticism

I saw "Table Manners" in Gloucester a few weeks ago, which had many friends in the cast, which was lovely to see.

It reminded me that about six years ago I had seen the entire "Norman Conquests" - about 7 hours in all - in Amsterdam, in Dutch, directed by Ivo Van Hove at his Toneelgroep.

Of course, I don't understand a word of Dutch (so it was nice to go to Gloucester and finally understand what the characters were saying, precisely), but it was an absolutely unforgettable production nonetheless: no furniture - just a metal box, sort of like a lemonade stand, that the actors would stand in when they weren't in a scene. There was no table. They just sat and ate off the floor. On top of the metal lemonade stand (if I can keep calling it that) was an 8 or 9 foot pole with a carpeted platform on top, upon which sat, for the duration of the 3 plays, a large orange tabby cat.

I have been a huge fan of Van Hove ever since. I wish I could have seen his Streetcar, or his Hedda Gabler, with the infamous V-8 juice scene.

I recently stumbled across an inteview, where he says this about criticism:

"When somebody comes to me and says he really hated what he saw, or he really loved it, it’s both the same. I act as if it’s indifferent to me, but deep down of course you always crave to be loved. And that’s what I make theater for. Theater for me is my mission in life. It isn’t my job. I can express something from myself which I think is very valuable. Missing it would be like missing my heart. When it means so much for you to make theater, you want everybody to love what you make. It’s really terrible when somebody dislikes it."

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