Silke Huysmans & Hannes Dereere, CAMPO, BELGIUM
Slovak debut of the novel duo of Belgian performers! Pleasant Island is an striking documentary theatre about a part of the world that was once paradise on Earth. The island of Nauru that lies in the Pacific Ocean between Australia and the Hawaiian Islands, was once called Pleasant Island. The name sounds ironic today: since it was discovered by Europeans, it gradually became a parched and exploited piece of land with virtually no vegetation, lonely in the open sea (the nearest land is 300 kilometres away). Nauru is often seen as a parable about our contemporary world. The exhaustion of natural resources ruined the island economically and ecologically. Today, Nauru is best known for hosting Australia’s refugee detention centres. It has thus become a self-sustaining state that gradually has no resources other than trading in the misfortune of others. The conditions in which the refugees live on the island are dreadful. The government of Nauru has banned most journalists and researchers from the island in an attempt to prevent the spread of negative news.
The authors Silke Huysmans and Hannes Dereere received exceptional permission to enter the island for a few weeks in the Summer of 2018. In this post-apocalyptic environment, they tried to capture the historical, ecological and humanitarian exhaustion of the island, and thus of our entire planet. With the help of sound and video recordings, plus telephone conversations secretly captured on their smart phones, you will take a “walk” around the island of Nauru. This unique investigative performance reveals its dramatic past and gloomy present. What idea of the future is still left here? What will happen to a world that is focused on boundless growth? And what happens to the rest of the world that pretends not to be concerned about this?
Pleasant Island is the second part of ecological trilogy. At Divadelná Nitra 2023 you have a unique opportunity to see the other two parts as well: Out of the Blue and Mining stories.
by & with: Silke Huysmans & Hannes Dereere
dramaturgy: Dries Douibi
sound mixing: Lieven Dousselaere
technical collaboration: Anne Meeussen & Piet Depoortere
technical support: Christoph Donse
scenography: Frédéric Aelterman, Luc Cools
Portuguese transcriptions: Luanda Casella, Miguel Cipriano
co-production: Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Spring Festival Utrecht, Beursschouwburg, Kunstenwerkplaats Pianofabriek, Veem House For Performance, Spielart & De Brakke Grond residencies Beursschouwburg, De Grote Post, KAAP, Kunstencentrum Buda, Kunstenwerkplaats Pianofabriek, STUK & Veem House for Performance, LOD with the support of Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie & KAAP
with the support of: VGC
many thanks to all collocutors in Nauru
Presentation at Divadelná Nitra with the support of the Government of Flanders.
The documentary and polyphonic work of Belgian theatre artists Silke Huysmans (drama, KASK) and Hannes Dereere (theatre sciences, Ghent University) is based on concrete social, political and ecological situations, events or places that reflect broader global themes. What characterises the duo is how they carry out their research – by means of scientific examination, interviews and fieldwork. With their performances they investigate the use of journalistic and documentary elements within theatre. Since 2016, they have been working on a trilogy on mining.
“Interesting documentary theatre, about a part of the world that seemed almost forgotten.” De Volkskrant, NL 17.06.19
“It’s the genius of the editing that makes ‘Pleasant Island’ a hallucinatory document with an unprecedented form, between performance and documentary.” IO Gazette, FR 05.10.20
“Human, personal, understandable and accessible.” El Punt Avui, SP 23.11.20