The Rhine River (working title) is going to be a new Toneelmakerij production, made by the all-round theatre-maker, songwriter and visual artist Steef de Jong. A performance about the first highway of Europe: The Rhine river.
For centuries the Rhine river has been a source of inspiration for artist, writers, composers to create legends, myths, songs, opera’s, paintings. It’s also a touristic area with its many castles with its romantic stories. Opposed to this romanticism, the Rhine is facing like no other the effects of climate change. Many factories can be found along the Rhine, polluting the river. The Rhine is a lifeline that passes through 6 countries that created the first European coalition in 1815 as a precursor of the European Union. The river forces us to collaborate beyond borders.
Steef de Jong is fascinated by operetta and his aim is to reinvent the operetta genre.
In the Netherlands he got recognized as an extra-ordinary talent through his one-man cardboard operetta trilogy about his love for the 19th century, the empress Sisi and the operetta genre.
Cardboard set designs- and costumes are another feature of his work, using minimal means to create grand operatic images.
He likes to balance between art and kitsch, reason and sentiment, reality and fantasy, subtle details and grand gestures. Behind the playful style and design lies a deeper world and a desire to move, surprise and astonish the audience.
The Rhine River will be created in spring 2022 in the Netherlands by three actors, performers, dancers. It has the form of a procession, a parade, a stream of images.
With handmade cardboard set pieces and objects, the actors bring the stories of the Rhine to life. Some of these objects can be unfolded like a huge pop up book. Others can be used as costumes and easily be changed in another image by a folding technique.
The soundscape and music will be essential to the production. The actors will sing in an invented language called Rhines, a language that everybody will understand, based on the languages that are spoken along the river.
The performance can be played in all kind of places, in theatres and in open air on a square as well.
We are looking for partners to co-create a European extended version about one of Europe’s most important rivers. Part of the project will be finding a sustainable way to coproduce internationally.