Wunderbaum Gent / Rotterdam

Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose

In 2000, five actors graduating at the same time from the Maastricht School of Acting wrote a letter to Johan Simons. They asked him if, and under the wings of ZTHollandia, they - as a young company - could make theatre-on-location. Simons agreed and a spark ignited between his company and Jonghollandia, the name given to the budding actors' collective. Now, six years later, the collective has renamed itself ‘Wunderbaum' and has a double home-base: Productiehuis Rotterdam and Johan Simons's NTGent. On their roll of achievements are a list of prizes (last season the Mary Dresselhuysprijs), numerous productions were selected for Het Theaterfestival (Welcome in My Backyard, Rollende Road Show), and a first bundle of scripts was published under their own name. Wunderbaum made a television film (Maybe Sweden) but primarily a great number of productions at very diverse locations, from army tents to roof apartments, abandoned fish-mines and shopping-centres. Last season, on their 5th birthday, Wunderbaum presented a selection of the productions they found most relevant in Ghent and Rotterdam. The idea for this retrospective came from the festival De Internationale Keuze van de Rotterdamse Schouwburg, which immediately offered inspiration for the title of the programme: the Wunderkeuze (Wunderchoice).

The eighties; that was the end of the world: “The Day After”, forest dieback, AIDS – the end of the story, one way or another. Apocalyptic mood as a feeling of youth. The nineties were not exactly safer either: War edged close to the West, states split, international terrorism came into fashion, temperatures rose. But the individual mood was more resigned and everything had become very complicated: There were so many attempts to explain every problem. And at the same time, individual, very immediate problems came to the fore: patchwork families, precarious employment conditions, dissolved public spheres, and private lives made public.

So now what? The future of the world and the future of every individual is more uncertain than ever before. Things are obviously and terribly complicated. Still a kind of pragmatic optimism is giving rise to a surprisingly large potential. Self-confidently, people are demanding the right to the working hypothesis that it might be possible to save the world. “Saving the world” is an extreme metaphor for the consciously naive belief in the possibilities of action.

NXTSTP partners: steirischer herbst (Graz), De Internationale Keuze van de Rotterdamse Schouwburg (Rotterdam)