Jan Decorte pits himself against all the great writers of theatre literature. Following the sometimes hilarious comedy Niks of Niks – freely rewritten from Shakespeare – Decorte is now tackling Schiller’s great tragedies. After all the banal stuff about love, we are now dealing with the great questions of humanity. In Schiller/Tasten Decorte and Sigrid Vinks enter into another alliance with the Antwerp theatre collective de Roovers. They share the stage with performers Sara de Bosschere and Michael Vergauwen.
The title of the performance reflects the purpose of their enterprise. In this project the work of the classical German poet and playwright Friedrich von Schiller is ‘explored’. Excerpts from several of his plays are retranslated and/or rewritten: certainly Schiller’s early work De Rovers, which contains many elements from Shakespeare’s King Lear, but also Kabale und Liebe, Maria Stuart, Don Carlos and others.
The choice of Schiller is no accident. In 1982 Jan Decorte staged Torquato Tasso by Goethe, Schiller’s contemporary and friend. The period of the Sturm und Drang literary movement, the late 18th century, has always been close to Decorte’s heart. It was the time when the Enlightenment began to dominate European man’s thinking, an important crossroads in our history which is frequently under fire today. In their essence, the themes of Sturm und Drang are still proving very topical: the rebellion of the young against the old, the call for more freedom and democracy, the importance of nature, etc. In the tragedies of the second half of the 18th century, the characters expressed their views extremely passionately: from ‘himmelhochjauchzend’ to ‘zum Tode betrübt’, from cheering to high heaven to desperately woeful. Schiller/Tasten presents us with an anthology of scenes and monologues in which both the individual feelings of love and the political passions of Schiller’s time resonate, but in which we discover many similarities with our own time.