March 20 - April 6, 2003
Thursday - Sunday 7:30pm
Sunday Matinee 2:30pm
Annex Theatre

directed by: Kokkelkoren and Bert Oele
music by: Wim Mertens
choreographed by: Erwin Kokkelkoren
set design by: Lisa Lalieu
costumes by: Ferry van Slooten
light design by: Jacques van Room
technician: Wijnand.

BODY a new dance theater work by Les Enfants Terribles from The Netherlands, examines the use and abuse of the body with traditional and modern dance, featuring a cast of three men and two women dancers and two actresses. The piece is set to minimalist orchestral and piano music by Belgian composer Wim Mertens, who is well-known for his collaborations with Belgian theater director Jan Fabre. The work is choreographed by Erwin Kokkelkoren and directed by Kokkelkoren and Bert Oele.

The style of the piece is detailed, precise, high-energy movement which is structured and mapped, ranging from the intense to the anarchistic. There is a scene in which a male dancer hangs for 15 minutes by his arms, with the other performers witnessing. As his body trembles, the theme of real versus artificial pain is explored.

The piece was developed by Kokkelkoren and Oele interviewing their ensemble on issues of pain, death, loneliness and lovers, and gathering stories on these themes. The cast's stories and anecdotes were used as starting points for scenes. Each scene became a movement piece, since all the performers were dancers. Imagery from their stories were captured in the piece, which now includes such situations as a man being exposed on a balcony and a woman being chased.

Erwin Kokkelkoren (choreographer) worked from 1985 to 1987 with the well-known Dutch contemporary dance theatre Penta in Rotterdam. He starred in five different productions in Rotterdam and toured throughout the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Austria and France. He directed and performed 2 contemporary dance pieces; 'Gedachtenval' in 1986 and 'Mannendans' in 1987. In 1989 he founded Les Enfants Terribles Theatre Company, initially as a vehicle through which to perform his own works. His dance creations with Les Enfants Terribes are characterized by poetic but raw images, multimedia and unusual music. His "Forgotten Faces and Future Lives" (Amsterdam, 2001) was a performance work for eight dancers about basic instincts, with a "manipulation of knives that makes my skin crawl" (De Volksrant). "Chaos" (Amsterdam, 1995) was a performance work for one actor and two dancers whch dealt with the liberation from suppressive social structures. De Noord Hollandse Dagbladen described it as "full of conflicts, emotion, humour and death." Kokkelkoren is also a prolific actor, working in theater (mostly classics), TV dramas and films.

Les Enfants Terribles debuted in 1989 with "Ich Ewiges Kind," a story on the life and work of the painter Egon Schiele. By 1992 Les Enfants Terribles were making waves through Dutch theater and Erwin Kokkelkoren's partner, Bert Oele, joined the troupe as producer and manager. Now Kokkelkoren and Oele are the permanent members of the company and additional cast and crew are employed for each production. Dance, performance and imagery are mixed in most productions.

This is the troupe's first dance work in the U.S., although it has performed two plays previously at La MaMa. Enfants… made their American debut at La MaMa in June, 1999 with "Tales of a Traveler," a monodrama inspired by Simone de Beauvoir's existentialist novel, "All Men Are Mortal." The play depicted a man's thoughts in the hour before his 500th birthday, when he has the option of dying or living another 500 years. The New York Times (D.J.R. Bruckner) reflected on how the protagonist, played by writer/performer Kokkelkoren, was--after twenty generations or so--"somewhat less than free to choose" his fate, citing this as an underlying theme in de Beauvoir's novel. With the "unspoken suggestion" that Mr. Kokkelkoren was speaking about AIDS, the message of the play was described as plain: "get to know exactly who you are because--this he does say--'death is the peak of being alone.'" This was followed by "Kwame, The Ultimate Love Story" (La MaMa, 2001), written and performed by Kokkelkoren, directed by Bert Oele. The play concerned the break up of a deep love affair and the conflicting choices couples make in living with a life threatening disease.

Bert Oele (co-director) made a long-term career in psychiatric health care before switching to a career in the theater. He wrote and directed a number of short movies: "Deep Dream" (1970", "Self-portrait I" (1970), "Tea Time" (1972), "Break" (1980) and "Self-portrait II" 1991. Since 1992 he has been producer and company manager for Les Enfants Terribles, where he has directed six productions, including the two which have been presented to-date by La MaMa.

Kokkelkoren and Oele are both fluent in English (which is common among Dutch people) and enhanced their mastery of the English-speaking stage by studying in New York acting conservatories. When there is text in their American productions, it is in English.
"Body" is directed by Erwin Kokkelkoren and Bert Oele and choreographed by Erwin Kokkelkoren. The performers are Vincent Verburg, Willem Aerts, Jorge Arbert, Ina Stockem, Maaike van Dijk, Emma vd Mey and Cam Kornman. Music is by Wim Mertens. Set design is by Lisa Lalieu. Costumes are by Ferry van Slooten. Light design is by Jacques van Room. Technician is Wijnand.

2003 page