Lunatics director Hogeweg: 'Everything is determined by the difference in culture'

June 2005 -

On the occasion of the tenth birthday of the Hivos Culture Fund, the Lunatics from the Netherlands will work together with the Indonesian theatrical group Payung Hitam to perform Black Moon. Lunatics director Koos Hogeweg talks about the creative process in Bandung.


'It was not at all what I thought it would be and cannot be compared to anything I have ever experienced. It was constantly pouring rain and communication via the interpreters was slow. But everything was determined by the difference in culture. When I had an idea and asked what Rachman (Sabur, Payung Hitam's director - ed.) thought about it, his answer was: "It is possible". That happened a few more times, until I finally understood that his "It is possible" really meant: "I don't like it". In the Indonesian culture, apparently it is unusual to directly express emotions.'

'Another striking difference was the tempo. We are accustomed to working quickly and taking the audience's responses into account. They need more time for what they want. They are unafraid, for example, to let a scene with much mourning to last for several minutes, when we would think that one minute was more than enough. But their tempo that we experience as slow is accompanied by lots of energy, rhythm and a magnificent use of imagery. That is what has made this an exciting performance rich in contrasts.'

'Despite the three try-outs, the performance is not ready yet. Half of the background does not fit into the small outdoor theatre where we are performing. And there is a lot less light than what we are used to, giving us much to do before the performance is ready here. I can't wait.'

Black Moon by The Lunatics/Payung Hitam: Amsterdam, Westergasfabriek, 31 May - 4 June 2005; Terschellings Oerol: 10 - 12 and 14 - 18 June 2005, and Leidsche Rijn Utrecht: 23 - 26 June 2005