Ontroerend Goed is a Belgian, Ghent-based theatre performance group of international renown. The group is made of young creators who explore the space between theatre and performance, writing their own texts from a strong basic concept and adapting familiar formats from various media. From sensorial experiences with blindfolded, individual audience members, over anarchistic teenage performances up to shows that profoundly explore what it means to be a theatre-goer, the group continues to create work that is equally challenging and treacherously shallow.
A lot of contemporary plays cannot be experienced unless you’ve attended them and many of those performances are hard to transcribe on paper, because of their visual and physical nature. Of course, it’s always possible to make a video recording, but watching that is a diminished experience. Although Ontroerend Goed embrace the ‘nowness’ of theatre and its visual and physical possibilities, the group wanted to take an extra step to share its work.
In this book, Ontroerend Goed explore different forms to convey a theatrical experience on paper. Each performance has its own way of approaching the audience, so each text has its own way to address the reader. This book is not made to turn the page and document the performances as a past experience, but for people to use it as a tool. A tool to play, adapt, oppose, relive, challenge and inspire.
'Breath-taking arrogance and arresting humility, monolithic certainties that stop dead at a surprising moment of fragility, callousness blossoming into soul-swelling generosity – all the teeth-clenching, enslaving contradictions of Ontroerend Goed, they’re all here... These blueprints have been reverse engineered. They are a retrospective. They are a greatest hits.' Exeunt
‘All Work and No Plays is important reading for anyone interested in the potential of performance to escape traditional format and challenge audiences, or indeed the recent history of European devised theatre... In some sense, this mimics the experience of an Ontroerend Goed event: technically brilliant, disturbing and intelligent, shifting between ideas and emotions relentlessly. Alongside the hints for other makers to recreate these performances, this could be the most powerful part of the book. Combined with its idiosyncratic yet coherent design, it allows the texts to stand out against mere publication of scripts... through the complexity, it offers an insight into the most consistently challenging theatre-makers of the past decade.’ The Scottish Journal of Performance
'Covers similar territory to Tim Crouch's The Author in its examination of the role and responsibilities of the audience - undoubted power - fascinating and slippery.' Guardian on The Audience
Oberon 2015, 520 pages, paperback with a selection of colour images, 23 x 16 cm
The renewed interest in artistic practices as well as in institutional collaborations with artists seems to be driven by a positive vibe, by an interest in changing the governing structures...