Poetic family drama lifts the spirits in rendition of Hugo Claus’ classic

Poetic family drama lifts the spirits in rendition of Hugo Claus’ classic

Nov 10, 2015 |  by  |  Art, Event
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Having lived in London to study theater producing, Senne now selects the tastiest performances across Amsterdam and serves up the fine theatrical dishes this city has to offer.

Toneelgroep Amsterdam invites an international array of directors to work with the ensemble, from Simon Stone to Sam Gold and now Maren Bjørseth, a young Norwegian whose De Wilde Eend for Frascati I discussed not long ago. This time, the outcome of her work is much more convincing: Een Bruid in de Morgen (‘A Bride in the Morning’) is a strong piece of theater, both respectful to the text from 1955 and bold enough to surprise and marvel at.

Inspired by Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, the story presents a family in which order is disrupted by the arrival of a new body. Like his American colleague, Hugo Claus created a play where the imagination of the characters and reality flow into one another.

Despite the story’s age, this production feels fresh and alive.

The basis is a stellar cast, with Marieke Heebink as the loathsome mother whose sole wish is to get to her niece’s money (Camilla Siegertsz) by coaxing her childish son Thomas (Alwin Pulinckx) into marriage. At the same time, Thomas and his sister Andrea (Jip Smit) have a very close relationship that borders on the incestuous. She wants to protect him from the love of the much older niece. Their dream: to go to the London Zoo.


The resulting tension makes for expressive and intense drama. The actors are great, with Siegertsz losing herself in the spoiled and petty, squeaky-voiced niece and Heebink acting the part as the nervous, calculating mother. Pulinckx is very convincing as Thomas, gullible and childlike in his hopes and dreams.

It all takes place under a white marquee, as the whole story drives at the impending wedding. Designed by Marjolijn Brouwer, it also carries the suggestion of covering up what happens inside the house as it is constantly manipulated by the characters. Bjørseth’s love of inserting techno music into classic plays here feels completely natural, as does the comic, grand acting.

One a hit, one a miss – what can we expect from Bjørseth next?

Een Bruid in de Morgen

When: Until 14 November, then touring
Where: Frascati
Tickets & info: TGA website

Imagery by Jan Versweyveld.

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