When we were looking for a name for our new home I was playing with the word ‘Molenbeek’. I translated it for my colleagues as ‘Mill’s Creek’. But then our Mil died and we renamed this new refuge as MILL. In this way, the man who didn’t want a funeral, who for years had wanted to disappear in silence, who in the days before his death was terrified of the unknown, and with his last breath stuck up his thumb for a moment to reassure us, has been given an ‘in memoriam’ after all. Mil Seghers. The man who was already four hundred years old at the age of sixteen. A master of plain acting. For many years my broken, hopeless and lonely muse, abandoned by all and sundry. The complete amateur who didn’t let himself be intimidated by Dirk Roofthooft, Tom Jansen or Johan Leysen when he once again had to play the ‘famous’ death scene in ‘Julius Caesar’. Who travelled across Europe with us, and just before the border climbed into the back of the truck because he hadn’t had any papers for years. Not because he was an anarchist who was against borders, but simply because he engaged with life rather awkwardly. I know quite a few people who are alone, but none of them is as lonely as Mil was.
In the meantime, we are busy rethinking Needcompany, at a time when we are all having to rethink quite a lot. The world is changing faster than our planet revolves. What does art still mean nowadays? And has anything changed or is it actually always the same… old carry-on?
I have been reading Monteverdi’s correspondence, and I quote from a 1609 letter: “I received a letter from His Highness the Prince of Maderno. He asked me to let him know whether a certain Galeazzo Sirena would like to come and work at the court and what salary he would like to receive there. I have to inform you that the said Galeazzo has the greatest capacities and is a highly talented composer… He [Galeazzo] immediately replied that he has no intention of serving rulers and that he prefers to earn his money by teaching and selling guitars.”
Monteverdi and Sirena; one bowed before the powerful, the other did not. No one has ever heard of Sirena now. That is the tragedy of art and nothing can be done about it. Or else it must be that eternity is a farce.
After 10 years of intensive work with us, and relentless loyalty, our Eva Blaute is heading off in a new direction. Yannick Roman, the man who has piloted us through turbulent waters, will also be seeking new adventures after five years of faithful service. We wish them both all the best, with much love and respect. They have barely left the premises before two new members of staff are impatient to join us in rethinking Needcompany: Johan Penson, an old and experienced hand, will from now on deal with our business affairs, and newcomer Lore Missinne will look after distribution. Exciting times.
In 2017 Needcompany will be continuing to celebrate its 30th anniversary. It will be a spectacular year: Jan Lauwers is showing a variation on his Chinese exhibition Silent Stories at BOZAR. He has invited Dirk Braeckman to take part with his series of photos on The House of Our Fathers, which shed a radically new light on that performance. There will be the Grand Opening of MILL, a new workplace in the distressed Molenbeek, 1000 m² for the creation of beauty, a new start for Needcompany, where room has also been made for the Kuiperskaai group of young artists. As well as this, the films Goldfish Game and C-Song Variations will be screened in New York and Shanghai, Needcompany will be presenting a new instalment of The Time Between Two Mistakes at the Taiwan International Festival of Arts and The blind poet, FOREVER, The Moon, WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHAT DO YOU MEAN AND OTHER PLEASANTRIES and O or The Challenge Of This Particular Show Was To Have Words Ending In O will continue touring.
Ten years after his first solo exhibition at BOZAR, Jan Lauwers is showing new work in the exhibition Silent Stories, which was first presented in 2016 at McaM, the brand new museum of contemporary art in Shanghai that is headed by the Chinese artist Qiu Zhijie. In one monumental installation he gathers together his life’s archive and reinterprets materials and works from the past in the light of art history. His drawn landscapes excel in their serenity and wistfully question such elements as craftsmanship, virtuosity and emotion.
In addition there is an intervention with new work by Dirk Braeckman. His series of photos on The House of Our Fathers casts new light on this performance/installation by Jan Lauwers. The exhibition period will also include the launch of the artist book that Jan Lauwers and Dirk Braeckman are publishing together.
GRAND OPENING OF MILL
SAVE THE DATE: 31 MARCH 2017
Immediately following the opening of Silent Stories at BOZAR, Needcompany will be holding the festive inauguration of its new home, called MILL. It will be a busy evening, with new work by the members of Needcompany. The company will be raising its glass to toast this new haven.
Don’t miss the unique opportunity to see the films Goldfish Game and C-Song Variations once again. Goldfish Game, Jan Lauwers’ first full-length film, was selected for the 2017 Segal Center Film Festival on Theatre and Performance in New York. It will be screened on 3 March. Penny Dan Xu and Ni Youyu (Xn Office), the curators of the ‘Collage: The Card Players’ exhibition at the Shanghai Gallery of Art, have selected Jan Lauwers’ film C-Song Variations for this show, which is on from 1 April to 2 June 2017 and examines the unexplored connection between the European collage tradition and Chinese art and culture.
FOREVER, the latest production by Lemm&Barkey, had a splendid world premiere during Steirischer Herbst in Graz and a Belgian premiere at the Kaaitheater in Brussels. It was showered with praise by both press and public.
What the press wrote:
"With its fragile porcelain objects, colourful nature films and intimist singing, in ‘FOREVER’ Barkey found an impressively intimate and extraordinarily beautiful way of depicting the most intense moment in life: the moment when you are face to face with death and wish for nothing more than a few words to murmur while you peer at the Grim Reaper and hope that he will pass you by once more, because he makes you realise how superbly wonderful life on earth is." – 28/10/2016, Els Van Steenberghe, FOCUS Knack
FOREVER will be on tour in the near future. In early March it will grace the stage at PACT Zollverein in Essen. Immediately after that is the Dutch premiere at the DURING TEFAF Festival in Maastricht (Theater aan het Vrijthof). At a later date, it will be the turn of the Internationales Figurentheater-Festival in Erlangen and Nürnberg.
Needcompany will spend a week as the guest of the Theater aan het Vrijthof in Maastricht and will this year be the focus of the DURING TEFAF Festival, the annual international festival of the performing arts and music that runs simultaneously with the world-renowned TEFAF art fair. There will be no less than 4 productions on between 13 and 17 March. The first is WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHAT DO YOU MEAN AND OTHER PLEASANTRIES, then it’s the turn of The Moon by MaisonDahlBonnema, followed by the Dutch premiere of The blind poet and finally the Dutch premiere of FOREVER.
Maarten Seghers will be touring in two productions in the coming months. He opens the Needcompany week at the DURING TEFAF Festival with his solo WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHAT DO YOU MEAN AND OTHER PLEASANTRIES, will once again be a guest at the Artdanthé Festival at the Théâtre de Vanves in Paris and opens the 2017 XL Festival at Bronks in Brussels.
He will also appear in his latest creation, O or The Challenge Of This Particular Show Was To Have Words Ending In O at Strombeek Cultural Centre as part of Performatik 17, at Arsenic in Lausanne and during Dansand in Ostend. In this production, Maarten Seghers enters into confrontation with the artists, musicians and dancers Fritz Welch, Simon Lenski, Nicolas Field and Mohamed Toukabri.
Having overwhelmed the audience with Isabella's room in 2013, Needcompany is returning to the Taiwan International Festival of Arts (TIFA) in Taipei. On this occasion it’s for a new instalment of The Time Between Two Mistakes.
This production comments on Peter Brook’s The Empty Space and explores Needcompany’s archives. The distinct visual idioms of Grace Ellen Barkey and Jan Lauwers are brought face to face with dramaturgical musical accompaniment by Maarten Seghers. At the same time, both the view of the audience and the artist’s role in society are questioned and brought into focus.
The Time Between Two Mistakes is constantly evolving. The research for this project was launched during the 2014 steirischer herbst and MESS Festival in Sarajevo, where this work was awarded the SOUND OF MESS prize. Each Time Between Two Mistakes raises new questions and thereby generates a new form. For this instalment, Needcompany selected 12 Taiwanese dancers who take up the challenge of facing up to the time between these two mistakes.
Needcompany kicked off in 2017 with the premiere of Begin the Beguine at hth CDN Montpellier. Rodrigo Garcia invited Jan Lauwers to direct John Cassavetes’ last play. Gonzalo Cunill, Juan Navarro, Romy Louise Lauwers and Inge Van Bruystegem are brilliant in this French-Spanish pitch-black allegory of love and death, named after Cole Porter’s evergreen.
This is what the press wrote:
"With the assistance of his four supremely human, utterly insane, superb and authentic performers (Romy Louise Lauwers, Inge Van Bruystegem, Gonzalo Cunill and Juan Navarro), who don’t even flinch at bare bums, he pulls out all the stops, from lunacy to tragedy, brings in a range of languages, French, Spanish and English, and touches on all the arts, from theatre to video to visual art. Thanks to him, thanks to him, there is life in this despair, there is sex in this final end. And love, dammit, love!" – 28/1/2017, Jérémy Bernède, Midi Libre
It will also be on at Le Cratère, Scène national d’Alès, on 16 May 2017. In 2017-18 there will be a tour of France and Spain.
Needcompany has moved. The new address is
Gabrielle Petitstraat 4 box 4, 1080 Sint-Jans-Molenbeek.
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