Jan Lauwers & Needcompany [Brussels]

The Deer House

The Deer House
The Deer House

25.09 – 27.09.2008

Jan Lauwers’ new piece will be staged for the first time at the Salzburger Festspiele at the end of July 2008. The Deer House is the concluding part of the Sad Face / Happy Face trilogy and will be performed in Salzburg together with the other parts, Isabella’s Room (2004) and The Lobster Shop (2006). Three stories about human nature.

Jan Lauwers: ‘Art is about man and human nature. And all good art is a self-portrait of the observer. “One sees what one has learned.” In good theatre you see things that cannot happen in video, film or visual art. The theatre medium has the most direct link with ‘human nature’ because it is performed by people, for people. It is essential for theatre to seek this ‘humanity’ so that it can redefine itself and therefore survive. This is why we need to tell new stories.’

‘The three parts of Sad Face / Happy Face each deal with a different approach to narration. The first part, Isabella’s Room, is a reflection on the past and more linear than anything I have ever written. I needed this linearity as it was inspired by a very personal incident in my life, namely my father’s death.’

‘Part two, The Lobster Shop, is about the future and is constructed like a dream or nightmare, whichever you prefer. In a dream time, space and place are interchangeable and in art the beginning is not necessarily the beginning nor the end the end.’

‘Part three, The Deer House, is the present. You can interpret the present (and now we touch on the essence of theatre) in two ways. The present in the world around us, by which I mean the world in its broad political and historical sense, and the present in the world as we perceive it when we watch someone doing something while he knows he is being watched. The medium of theatre and the actors’ reality at the time of the event. Good theatre always examines the reality of the medium itself.’

‘When we were on tour somewhere in France, Tijen Lawton, one of Needcompany’s dancers, received a message saying that her brother, the war correspondent Kerem Lawton, had been shot and killed in Kosovo. It was this that led me to write The Deer House, a play about a group of theatre-makers who are increasingly confronted with the hard reality of the world in which they travel around.’

‘Everything is politics but art is not everything. Art always falls into the folds of history, it is useless and has absolutely no influence on anything that happens, and herein lies its mysterious necessity.’


text, direction, scenography Jan Lauwers | music Hans Petter Dahl, Maarten Seghers | with Grace Ellen Barkey, Anneke Bonnema, Hans Petter Dahl, Viviane De Muynck, Misha Downey, Julien Faure, Yumiko Funaya, Benoît Gob, Tijen Lawton, Maarten Seghers, Inge Van Bruystegem | production management Luc Galle | production Needcompany & Salzburger Festspiele | coproduction Schauspielhaus Zürich | in association with deSingel (Antwerp), Kaaitheater (Brussels) | support Flemish government