Theater choir or Choral theater: Bloed en rose at Clover Artklop Festival in Potchefstroom
Theater choir or Choral theater?
Tom Lanoye’s „Bloed en rose“ as a South African premiere
Marthinus Basson, Director
Martin Berger, Musical Direction
Hugo Theart, Producer
Stellenbosch University Vocal Ensemble
Text: Tom Lanoye
Music: Dominique Pauwels
Tom Lanoye’s impressive play was one of the highlights of the theater festival in Avignon. In October, the play had now its cheered South Africa premiere at the Clover Artklop festival in Potchefstroom.
„Bloed & Rose – The song Jeanne van de Gilles“ tells in two parts the story of Jeanne d’Arc, the „Maid of Orleans“ and Gilles de Rais, her knight, who later became one of the richest and strangest personalities in medieval Europa.
Jeanne d’Arc, a simple farmer’s girl, claimed to have received from God the task of liberating France from English occupation. After several spectacular victories she was imprisoned and burnt at the stake as a witch. Gilles de Rais, one of the richest nobles in France, fought at Jeanne’s side. After her death he abandoned himself to magic and sexual excess. More than 400 children were killed in ritual murders. He was condemned for witchcraft, sodomy and the murder of dozens of youths. In 1920 Jeanne was canonised.
In Lanoye’s play the horrors of the 15th century are a mirror of the 21st century. Dangerous forms of fundamentalism are always manifesting themselves in misuse of legal, political or religious power.
Dominique Pauwel’s beautifully insisting music used the Choir (the newly founded „Stellenbosch University Vocal ensemble“) in an unique way which was probably unheard since the establishing of the old greek theaterchoirs threethousand years ago. Pauwels combines th principles of the early mediaeval and polyphonic music with 21st century tonality
Martin has always been interested in the „grey zone“ between music theater and theater and this production offered a lot of possibilities to him: live a-cappella music in combination with light, video, background loops and acting singers expands the borders of usual choral music.
Not an opera, not at all – Not a usal drama – not at all!
But part of a new approach, how choir music and drama can join forces for the sake of a new expressiveness that touches and shatters people because it is contemporary and art of our time.