Land of Ame: Surinam mythological theatrical performance

May 2006 -

The river water, the sun and the Gonini eagle are the Surinam symbols for vitality, freedom and protection. They play the central part in Land of Ame, a mythological theatrical performance with music, dance and song.

The production is a gift from the government of the Netherlands to Surinam on the occasion of its thirtieth year of independence. ameAmbassador for international cultural cooperation for the Netherlands, Jan Hoekema, therefore attended the premiere.

"It is a beautiful piece, with excellent interaction," Hoekema said when interviewed by the Surinam daily newspaper De Ware Tijd after the performance. "This performance needs a highly specific audience, and we hope to attract that audience during the performances in the Netherlands." The Dutch premiere will be in Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ in Amsterdam on 7 May.

The newspaper reported that the first performance of Land of Ame was received with "mixed sentiments". Like Hoekema, many in the audience were impressed, specifically praising the impassioned acting of the fifteen Surinam actors - young people from various population groups. Others were more negative. They said the story - about how Surinam came into being, slavery and an optimistic view of the future - held no surprises.

With acting and directing courses for young talent, Land of Ame is striving to stimulate performing arts in Surinam. Author and director Henk Tjon plays an important part in that respect. During the final rehearsals an illness necessitated his replacement by Wilgo Baarn and Eartha Silos. Luckily, he is now on the road to recovery.

Business manager Karin Naarden-Refos considers the production not only a special gift from the Netherlands, but also as an ode to Tjon, who De Ware Tijd calls "probably the greatest stage director that Surinam has ever brought forth".