Theater Arsenaal was sold out as we set it's stage On Fire for the fourth time. Leading up to that moment, we worked intensely during the week, over five evening sessions. Our burning hot topic: the humanitarian disaster we have conveniently called "war" for centuries.
The material we brought to the creative process was, (apart, of course, from our experiences, skills and ideas) a mix of stories and genres. Our starting points were 1. the story of General Hannibal Barkas, who once crossed the Alps with an army of peoples, to fight the Romans. 2. the love story of Dido and Aeneas and the scorching music of Henri Purcell, who turned it into an opera. And of course 3. the life experiences of a team of extraordinary artists.
We threw great contrasts into the mix, to underscore the emotions and mixed feelings that wars cause: techno clashed with opera, slams turned into whispers, inner monologues and war rhetoric collided. There were dance rituals and chants. We shared scenes of joy and mourning, as a painted work of art was destroyed and became our battlefield. The extremes met, just as in the outer world that often leaves us feeling powerless today.
We want to congratulate our wonderful team of artists and the technical crew, who made it happen. Big shoutout also to Michael De Cock (KVS) and Tom Swaak (Opera Ballet Vlaanderen) for joining our process and performance this week, and truly inspiring us. Creating stuff like this takes a special kind of courage. We don't take it for granted at all.
Most of all we say thanks to our audience for empowering us and for being so generous. We are SOCHA, together with you, because of you. Let us cling to each other. Because what happened on Saturday was, again, truly special.
Feeling grateful and blessed,
Junior Mthombeni & Tom Kestens
On Fire 4 van en met Vianney Adriaens, Dora Almeleh, Pierre Anganda, Abel Baeck, Marios Bellas, Michael De Cock, Gala Dragot, Elke Gijsemans, Raphaële Green, Amina Iddrisu, Tonic Mendi Jacobs, Alix Konadu, Dieter Lambrechts, Zach Swagga, Jutta Troch, Jasper Vanhalle, Anna Kestens en Junior Mthombeni & Tom Kestens.
SOCHA ism KVS & Theater Arsenaal
Pictures by Stef Depover & De Beeldsmederij