Maatschappij Discordia [NL]

Over de kunst

Over de kunst
Over de kunst

26.02 – 27.02.2010

Keeping things fresh

Maatschappij Discordia is a Dutch theatre company founded in 1983 by Jan Joris Lamers, Matthias de Koning and others. Its very first performance, Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband, was performed by a cast consisting entirely of male directors (which apart from Lamers and de Koning included Gerardjan Rijnders, Frans Strijards, Ger Thijs and Titus Muizelaar) in what became a legendary project that opened new horizons, not just with regard to a new way of acting but also a new approach to the stage repertory. This method gives the actor great independence. There is a close reading of the play by all actors gathered around a table, there is very little onstage rehearsal, so that the acting remains as fresh as possible, and the connection with theatre tradition is as free and open as possible.

Maatschappij Discordia became the leading promoter of this new approach, which gathered quite a following. Groups like STAN, de Roovers, Compagnie Marius and Dito Dito in Flanders, and ’t Barre Land, Dood Paard and Monk in the Netherlands, all clearly owe a debt of gratitude to Maatschappij Discordia’s work. All these groups have always worked without a director, the central idea being that the actors develop an autonomous relationship with the play, in mutual consultation. This generates a common dramaturgy that is presented to the audience as uninhibitedly as possible. Within the agreements that have been made, the actor is absolutely free in what he does during the performance.

In the past, Maatschappij Discordia has at certain times gathered together the members of the abovementioned companies under the name ‘De Vere’, and for a week or two they would perform as many plays as possible, plays which they had once dreamed of staging, but with a minimum of rehearsal. Maatschappij Discordia had become a household name both in Flanders and the Netherlands: by introducing their audience to a wide variety of authors, they were the ‘guardians’ of the spoken theatre tradition. They performed not only Shakespeare and Chekhov, but also lesser-known names in the repertoire, such as Sardiou and Scribe. They often performed works by Thomas Bernhard, but also by both Handke and contemporary Dutch-language plays by Judith Herzberg, Gerardjan Rijnders and others.

In 2001 Maatschappij Discordia was dropped from the list of Dutch companies that qualified for subsidies. Although it continued to work locally, it was unable to take its projects on tour. The company virtually disappeared from Flemish theatres. However, in the last round of subsidies they were reinstated once again and immediately surprised audiences with a captivating production ‘centred on’ Beckett.

Kaaitheater is happy to welcome them back!


a performance by Jorn Heijdenrijk, Annet Kouwenhoven, Jan Joris Lamers, Miranda Prein