bv Paula Citron
The sensational Strobbe/de Winne case in Belgium inspired the Ghent-based experimental theatre company Victoria to produce Aalst, and the play is both disturbing and irritating at the same time. Aalst is the city where the couple murdered their two children, and the play is touring to Toronto as part of Harbourfront’s New World Stage.
Director Pol Hayvaert calls the theatrical genre of Aalst “faction” or a mix of fact and fiction. Apparently 70 % of the text is taken from truth, while 30% is new material written by Dimitri Verhulst and Hayvaert. The couple is questioned by a disembodied voice, and what is so very, very tantalizing is that the audience has no idea just where the imagination of the writers has coloured the Q&A, either to gain our sympathy or prejudice our viewpoint.
The dispassionate acting of Lies Pauwels and Jeroen Perceval is miraculous. They are ordinary people exemplifying the banality of evil.
Aalst continues until Saturday.
From Premiere Dance Theatre, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.