In vandeneedevandeschrijvervandekoninganddiderot they examine illusion in the theatre, the actor's identification with the character and the need to model oneself on an example found in nature. Is Diderot right? Is Diderot wrong?
'The hand slid over a smooth surface; but the eye, being compelled (caught in a spell), perceives an irregularity, in such a way that one could ask the philosopher which of the two conflicting impressions (which of the two meanings) is the true liar.'
vandeneedevandeschrijvervandekoningendiderot was nominated for the 2002 'Theaterfestival'. In the autumn of 2003 was created a French version, du serment de l'écrivain du roi et de diderot , which was performed in France (a.o. at the Paris 'Festival d'Automne') and in Canada.
The rich and still highly topical text is served up by the threesome as a drawn-out slapstick routine, a battle with objects (the silent laying of the table in the first scene is more than worth the while on its own), a killing field brimming with water, generously powdered wigs, endless actions and clever wordplay.
Début de saison , De Groene Amsterdammer, Loek Zonneveld, 25/08/01
Put these three actors around a table and you instantly get fine cuisine. Even an eighteenth-century essay becomes a feast, and a highly palatable one at that. The paradox of Diderot is not only the subject of their conversations; it is also brilliantly enacted. They do all this in their own particular style, hovering on the edge of the farcical, now unemotional and then quite bombastic - because an actor should always exaggerate. But in the end they fall into the trap of their own perfect imitations. And the audience follows suit. They illustrate and mock their line of reasoning with a volley of inside jokes. This is brilliant actor's theatre. The fact that we're being told by characters that an actor should efface oneself, in a performance entirely made by men who explicitly play off their personality as actors, is the funniest paradox of them all.
How real is the actor? , De Standaard, Fred Six, 19/01/02
Discoursing on the implications of the eighteenth-century essay the actors offer their audience an hilarious two hours' worth. Despite all the silliness they always return very cleverly to the crux of the matter: the essence of acting, the actor's function and all the truths and misconceptions on these subjects. Everything is fake, that's what they're saying; on stage nothing is what it seems: the plastic feast, the whisky decanter filled with tea, 'blood' spurting from a crushed capsule. And yet these are men of flesh and blood, sweating in their heavy suits with their half-powdered heads, knowing exactly what they want to get at through Denis Diderot's rich text. The actor's craft is truly wonderful.
Three silly little men of flesh and blood , de Volkskrant, Karin Veraart, 20/06/02
by and with Matthias de Koning, Damiaan De Schrijver and Peter Van den Eede
production tg STAN, De KOE and Maatschappij Discordia.
coproducers of the French version Théâtre Garonne (Toulouse), Festival d'Automne (Paris) and Théâtre de la Bastille (Paris)
premiere 14 June 2001, Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam (NL)
premiere French version 12 November 2003, Théâtre Garonne, Toulouse (FR)