chapter  6
6 Pages

Kings of war or the play of power

WithJohan Thielemans

Ivo van Hove loves play marathons. Judging from his earlier productions, he has welded multiple plays together for more than one single bill in the theatre. Such was the case with Ajax and Antigone when he headed up Zuidelijk Toneel. That fed into the Shakespeare marathon The Roman Tragedies in 2006 and The Russians, an adaptation by Tom Lanoye of Ivanov and Platonov in 2011, both by Toneelgroep Amsterdam. In 2015, he returned to Shakespeare with a vengeance under the bill Kings of War, in which he brought three history plays together. Marathons have a special meaning for van Hove:

I always feel that during the course of long productions people are transformed into a community. People feel as though they’re very together watching them. … Scenes From a Marriage was four hours long, and by the end you could see strangers hugging each other. That’s what can come out of a marathon, if it’s good. You forget about time—you have the feeling like you’re having a special experience.

(Bosanquet 2015)