The Play Behind the Book and Vice Versa - every now and then

by Jonathan Van den Broeck

Review of every now and then, STUK, 7 November 2009, Leuven.

As part of the Playground Festival, STUK brings some special performances to the theatres of the modern cultural centre. Every Now and Then is one of these performances inviting the audience to read whilst watching a play. CJP tried this unique concept out.
At the entrance of the theatre, everyone is handed over a sturdy white book. This book serves as a guideline throughout the play Every Now and Then by the choreographers Mette Edvardsen and Philippe Beloul. The audience is invited to read the book whilst watching what is happening on stage. Soon, we notice that the book is made up of photos of what is happening on stage, although this assumption is soon thwarted. Suddenly people start leafing through the pages of the book hastily and, here and there, one can hear whispers saying: “Where are we? Hey, I can’t keep up any more?!” Some people close the book and follow what is happening on stage, others are trying to discover the story line by means of the pictures. A strange event, but we get carried away by the entire concept and nestle down in the soft seats of the theatre.
Bringing the Play Home You must recognize the feeling you sometimes experience when curling up on the couch with a book. This wonderful feeling of calming down. This feeling can also overwhelm you when leaving the theatre. You are carried away by a story, but you still have to find out how the space falls into place. Everyone can have his own interpretation of the play. You might even wonder whether this is a play or a picture book. Because what you see is what you get. Or is it not?
In the book you sometimes see elements in pictures you cannot immediately place. Do not worry; you can take the book home. It is even wrapped in a paper bag. This paper bag is one of the most important elements of the book and on stage, the symbolic meaning of which conveys some special importance. The warm atmosphere stays with you. The performance lingers with you and does not immediately release you. Speaking of wonderful theatre! Fresh, unique, cosy, full of symbolic meaning, deliciously smelling newly printed paper but foremost: worthy of five stars!

Article published on CJP website 12 November 2009 : Translated from Dutch by Taaladvisie.