chaos here. And a room that had
been completely ruined, and in that room
there were four dead men and
a name! And a door bearing
an unintelligible inscription.
But all of you, just look
at the whole. Whatever happened, we
positioned it in time in the right
order at the right places and
in the right words, that were
indeed spoken. And whatever you will see,
see at the end, it is what we saw:
chaos. And a room that is
completely ruined, and in that room
four dead men and
a name. Or three men who walk out the door
to go arrange matters
that are important to mankind
and a dead man
who is not dead yet, and in front of him
a door bearing an unambiguous inscription.
Jolente De Keersmaeker, Sara De Roo, and Damiaan De Schrijver perform a sequel to Alles is rustig ( All is Quiet ), a work in which Thomas Bernhard fulminates against the complacency of the intellectual and cultural elite.
Alles is rustig toured for five years in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Portugal, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy, in both a Dutch and a French version. This inspired the performers to present other pieces by Bernhard.
Their first choice was Am Ziel (1981), but in the end they only kept one sentence from this work - which has now become the title of the new performance: « "Sauve qui peut" pas mal comme titre » ( ""Devil take the hindmost" not a bad title" ), a combination of several of the author's Dramoletten.
Even more explicitly and ruthlessly than in Alles is Rustig , Bernhard dissects in these 'miniature dramas' the difficult Nazi past of the German people, something they still haven't come to terms with, as well as the latent fascisme in contemporary society.
« "Sauve qui peut" pas mal comme titre » is the second part of what is to become a Bernhard trilogy.
Stumbling through life , Haarlems Dagblad, Margriet Prinssen, 25/02/05 At times the long-drawn-out bungling with a folding table or with items of clothing threatens to allow the rhythm of the play to deteriorate into cheap props theatre in which a sudden burst of laughter is designed to conceal its pointlessness. But appearances are deceptive: both the playing with the props and the irritation it arouses serve a purpose. With their grotesque dressing-up sessions between scenes the actors steer the play towards an operetta-like gaiety which serves to sharpen the scented spuriousness of the Viennese waltz with officers in full dress uniform and ladies in stays.
War brings no salvation , Knack, Wim Smets, 23/03/05
The dressing-up is enough in itself! Each new section begins with the actors donning an elaborate new costume. They help each other in time to the music and then brazenly display yet another very fine outfit, before throwing themselves with total abandonment into the Thomas Bernhard sketches. Long monologues, poetical repetitions, litanies of human powerlessness. And in staging this inveterate grouser who ridicules his fellow countrymens Nazi past with deadly seriousness, STAN strikes just the right note. The seriousness of the subject is treated with mild light-heartedness, but the way the actors laugh off their troubles in piercingly high tones, cuts to the quick.
Boisterous miscellany of Bernhardian humour , de Volkskrant, Marjan Buijs, 02/04/05
Fear of the outsider lurks close to the surface. Chaos (i.e. social integration) is just round the corner. Nicely symbolised by a vast tarpaulin hanging over the stage like an inglorious sword of Damocles, it falls messily and creates a clumsy assault course. The satire flows from cruel interweaving of petty detail, offhand references to atrocities, revealing remarks that tail away. Orchestrated bourgeois clucking is punctuated by outrageous outbursts. Inconvenient truths are smugly airbrushed by beady-eyed bigots, darting poison with every peck.
'Sauve qui peut', pas mal comme titre , Financial Times, Clare Shine, 08/01/08
with Jolente De Keersmaeker, Sara De Roo and Damiaan De Schrijver
advice Matthias de Koning
costumes Inge Büscher
assistence costumes Filip Eyckmans
lighting design Thomas Walgrave
French translation Claude Porcell
many thanks to Martine Bom, Laurence D'Hondt and Gerhard Jäger
production tg STAN
coproducers of the French version KVS/Théâtre National (Brussels), Théâtre de la Bastille and Festival d'Automne (Paris)
premiere 16 February 2005, Kaaitheater, Brussels
premiere of the French version 17 October 2007, KVS/Théâtre National, Brussels