De Parade [Brussels]



20.05 – 25.05.2006

In Swing, the author and director Rudi Meulemans, together with three of the permanent Parade actors, Tom de Hoog, Hilde Wils and Johan Heestermans, tells the story of the swing era, the nineteen-thirties and forties in the USA.

The starting point is the jazz music of that era, which was then evolving from popular dance music played by big bands to the more ‘subdued’ variant called bebop. In their journey towards the conquest of a broad audience, the black swing musicians were often thwarted by the mass of regulations and acts of violence resulting from racial discrimination. Swing music and the struggle against racism are inseparably linked.

In Swing, these two main themes are dealt with by three outside narrators. Two of them are modelled on existing figures. John Hammond, heir to a family of extremely wealthy white entrepreneurs, invested his fortune in the organisation of concerts and the production of records of this black music. In her essays, Elizabeth Hardwick, a New York writer, always takes the side of the oppressed blacks. The third character, a young unemployed homosexual living in New York, is fictional. He collects records and introduces us to the music of his idols: Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Billie Holiday and so on.

Texte & mise en scène Rudi Meulemans
Dramaturgie Marianne Van Kerkhoven
Avec Tom de Hoog, Johan Heestermans, Hilde Wils
Production De Parade
Coproduction KunstenFESTIVALdesArts
Présentation KunstenFESTIVALdesArts & Kaaitheater
Avec le soutien du Warande et du Kaaitheater