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Very few people in Flanders will never have heard of top Flemish actors such as Stef Aerts, Frank Focketyn, Geert Van Rampelberg, Michael De Cock and Marie Vinck, even if they have never set foot in a theater. Together with a host of other actors and various extras, they are all part of the cast of JR, the new FC Bergman production that will premiere in late March at the former Electrabel site in Schelle (Belgium). The story was inspired by the book of the same name written by William Gaddis and published in 1975, which many describe as a hilarious satire on capitalism.
The producers have designed a majestic set that will be built just for the performances at a former industrial site in Antwerp. “This is right up our alley,” says Ief Van Gansen, planning manager at Heavy. “FC Bergman and Toneelhuis are both based in Antwerp and were looking for a local partner to help them with the necessary know-how and machinery. This is the perfect job for us!”
Difficult technical feat
Since the play will be put on on the second floor of a building, all of the technical materials and the stage had to be hoisted to this level. The crew reviewed the possibilities, and in early February, foreman Jo Muylle delivered the necessary materials to the warehouse in Schelle. “Using a roller bridge and other equipment, we hoisted an elevated platform to the floor where the play will be put on. I made all the additional arrangements with the stage managers and explained how they can safely operate the installation afterwards.”
On tour together?
During his career as a foreman, Jo has been in charge of many unusual objects. “I find the idea of JR as a play intriguing. I definitely want to see it! Working with Toneelhuis behind the scenes, we looked for creative solutions to make sure the production will be a success. This makes for a nice partnership. After the performances in Schelle, the production will go on tour to similar locations in Ghent, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and possibly other cities as well. I hope that we will work with Toneelhuis again in the future.”
(photo credits: Dries Segers for Toneelhuis & Joris Herregods for Gosselin)
FC Bergman’s production of JR will run from March 22 through 31 at the former Electrabel/Interescaut site in Schelle. Tickets and info: www.toneelhuis.be