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On entering a large, white box (set design by Oeri van Woezik) sits on the theater. Moments after, it opens on two sides, revealing the interior of a container home that seems to be made of molds for plastic items, such as disposable cutlery. It is the saddest place possible. A baby is crying.
We’re immediately sucked into the rotten atmosphere upon meeting the inhabitants: an addicted mother (Sanneke Bos) and her two daughters, one of whom a teen mom (Lotte Driessen) who now has a sex-crazed moron (Chiem Vreeken) for a boyfriend. The other a fifteen-year-old (Elise van ‘t Laar) dating a thirty-something who works for Shell (Tibor Lukács), who happen to be buying the land on which the container stands. The family is fighting eviction and will go to great lengths to stay.
Highlight is a female drama therapist who delights by making use of social worker’s jargon that is sometimes beautifully echoed in the mother’s ramblings.
With De Onrendabelen (‘the unprofitables’), written by Joeri Vos, Oostpool’s artistic director Marcus Azzini betrays a love of chaos and disruption as high-pitched screaming and animalistic fights and intimidation are nearly constant.
In case the above makes De Onrendabelen sound unbearable, there’s plenty to laugh too, especially in the stark contrasts between the frustratingly politically correct therapist and the direct and unflinching family members, most notably Vreeken’s animalistic creation.
Overall, it’s actually pretty light to the touch, but the underlying feelings of confinement and helplessness against an almighty system the family hardly understands (the council, the big corporation, the building society, the government) are dominant. By the end, despite one or two slightly artificial narrative twists, it gets quite dramatic.
As a commentary on society, the play works relatively crudely with not-too-subtle manifestations of big themes such as the status quo. But it’s vibrant, well-acted and sometimes insightful. As part one of a trilogy named Goede Bedoelingen [‘good intentions’], concerned with people from various social classes and their respective solutions for a better world, I’ll be looking forward to the next one (Fresh Young Gods, about bankers). Bring it on.
Pictures by Sanne Peper and Sophie Knijff.
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