9-14 MAY 2017
Sat-Sun: 11:00-13:00 and 18:00-22:00*
*Scroll down for timetable details
Syntagma Square, Athens
A "haunted house" is set in motion in the heart of Athens, and Dries Verhoeven exhorts us to enter the "Phobiarama" ride and banish the culture of fear that is eating away at us.
The performance takes place in a non-theatrical venue which is not accessible to people with mobility impairments.
The performance is not suitable for people with epilepsy.
"The only way to banish our fears is to face up to them", says Dries Verhoeven (b. 1976), and that's precisely what he invites us to do as we enter the darkness of the tent pitched in the heart of the city with Phobiarama glowing in neon beside it.
A live-performance installation, a ride to be experienced in the centre of the city, Phobiarama is the latest work from the internationally-acclaimed Dutch artist and director who presented No man's land at the OCC's 1st Fast Forward Festival three years ago, in which viewers were given a guided tour of downtown Athens by and through a reality of being an immigrant.
Phobiarama is a site-specific performance which simulates the contemporary theatre of fear infiltrating our daily existence, and invites you to enter a labyrinthine ride which seeks to cast out all that haunts us.
Now, to tell the truth: what are you most scared of? An abandoned suitcase in an airport? The possibility of leaving the Euro? The financial crisis, nationalism or the extreme-right national parties? Terrorism and the global security services?
The world première of Phobiarama, a co-production by the OCC and the Holland Festival, problematizes, exposes and dissects the strategies of fear and personal precarity, inviting us to demystify and expose the "wizard" behind a global fear mongering.
"We've never been so insecure and so very scared", Verhoeven notes, reminding us that: "Our fear receptors are in our brains, in the amygdala, the neurons that activate our reflexes when we are in danger. Our amydala has been putting in a lot of overtime lately. Politicians, the media, marketers and terrorists have forced us to stay ever-vigilant, ever alert. They've taken aim at our fear receptors with devastating accuracy. But which are real threats and which just cooked-up conspiracies...?".
creditsConcept: Dries Verhoeven
Performance: Michelangelo Hansen, Earl Daniel, Faiz Faouzi, Malcolm Pengel, Ozan Aydogan, Quincy Nelstein, Rodney Glunder, Rosario Roumou, Sohrab Bayat, Virginio Papa, Zouhair Mtazi
Dramaturgy: Lara Staal
Local Adaptation in Athens: Theodora Kapralou
Sound Design: S.M. Snider
Software: Sylvain Vriens
Costume: Tentacle Studio
Development Technical System: Nelissen decorbouw
Video Design (internship): Casper Wortmann
Direction (internship): Carmen Schwarz
Photography: Willem Popelier
Video Trailer: Bowie Verschuuren
Technical Direction: Roel Evenhuis
Production: Olga Godschalk
Production Αssistance: Bart van de Woestijne
Line Production: Nikitas Vassilakis
Publicity: Harmen van Twillert
Βusiness Μanagement: Valérie Julémont, Cees van Gemert, Inez Coumans
Co-commissioned by: Onassis Cultural Centre-Athens / Fast Forward Festival and Holland Festival
World premiere: Fast Forward Festival (May 2017)
Phobiarama is made possible thanks to the Creative Industries Fund NL, The Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, NORMA Fonds and VSBfonds.
Mon-Fr: 18:00 | 19:00 | 20:00 | 21:00 | 22:00
Sat-Sun: 11:00 | 12:00 | 13:00 and 18:00 | 19:00 | 20:00 | 21:00 | 22:00
The activity takes place in a non-theatrical venue which is not accessible to people with mobility impairments.
read moreAfter its world premiere in Greece, Phobiarama will be presented at the Holland Festival (12–20/6), once again as an Onassis Cultural Centre co-production.
The distinguished Dutch director and visual artist Dries Verhoeven (b. 1976) studied Direction at the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts (1995–1999) before going on to collaborate with various directors and set designers. In 2002, he embarked on a career as an independent theatre artist, presenting installations, site-specific performances and happenings in museums and public space as well as at international festivals. His works inhabit the grey zone between performance and installation art and critically examine the relationship between audience and performer, art and the everyday. Verhoeven denies the audience the role of passive observers of a theatrical performance and either draws them into a dynamic relationship with the work or encourages them to live the happening experientially. His work is shown internationally and he divides his time between Berlin and Amsterdam.
In his first performances, Verhoeven collaborated with vulnerable social groups (children and the elderly in Empty Hands, 2010; people with visual impairments in Dark Room, 2011; refugees and immigrants in No Man’s Land, 2011), inviting the audience to see reality from an unexpectedly different viewpoint.
In 2007, for his performance-installation You Are Here, Verhoeven created a "hotel" for 30 visitors. Seeking to simulate the loneliness of contemporary metropolises, he assigned each visitor-participant a room of their own, but mounted a 400 square metre mirror on the ceiling so they could all see the others in their rooms.
For his human installation Ceci n’est pas... (2013), Verhoeven exhibited unusual people in unusual contexts in transparent display cases placed in downtown public space (a dwarf enjoying a cocktail, a naked elderly woman wearing a mask depicting a young woman, a half-naked little girl sitting on the lap of a man reading her a story etc.). As Verhoeven saw it, there was another "exception to the rule" behind the glass every day. As he wrote: "It was an exhibiton of the DNA of our times" intended to make passers-by stop and stare.
The mass happening-memorial The Funeral (2014), which was enacted in churches and their adjacent cemeteries, emulated the forms of a Roman Catholic funeral with the public and participants accompanying the lost ideals of European society to their graves: the rule of law, privacy, humanism, Mother Nature, Christian faith...
In Verhoeven’s first one-man show, Homo Desperatus (2014), 70.000 ants were released on 44 models of the sites of the greatest disasters in the modern history of our planet: Chernobyl, Guantánamo, Bangladesh, Lampedusa, Fukushima etc.
Dries Verhoeven made his Greek première at the OCC’s 1st Fast Forward Festival in May 2014 with a peripatetic adults-only production, No Man’s Land. Twenty "viewers" met twenty economic migrants and political refugees in Monastiraki metro station. Every "viewer" was equipped with an iPod which relayed information to them and followed their own personal immigrant-guide on a revelatory walk through the city. As they walked, the "viewers" were read the biography of an immigrant who could well have been the guide showing them around the city. Viewer and guide developed a singular relationship in this way as the former trusted the latter to take them on a tour around a side of their home city they had never seen before. The work had been staged in the Netherlands, Germany and Spain before being No Man’s Land specially adapted for Athens where, in the words of its creator, "conditions were so urgent they demanded a moving, poetic and meaningful answer to what an 'intercultural environment' could entail".
Britain’s Observer wrote: "The Dutch director and artist Dries Verhoeven is a visionary athlete who has taken an extraordinary imaginative leap".
2016 saw the publication of the bilingual (Dutch and English) album Scratching Where It Hurts, which includes Verhoeven’s works from 2012–2016 along with photographs by Willem Popelier.