Guy Cassiers

Under the Volcano

24 - 26 February 2011
Main Stage
2h 10min
Guy Cassiers, renowned for his theatrical adaptations of literary works, travelled to Mexico to film the actual surroundings in which the events described in Malcolm Lowry’s novel took place.
15–20–25–28–42–52 €
Concs 10 - 15 €
Βased on the novel by Malcolm Lowry
In its postmodern form, theatrical direction is more concerned with recreating the world in a self-contained way than with rendering it faithfully. In this, it has been bolstered by the guilt-free assimilation of the electronic image. The art of the Belgian director Guy Cassiers (b. 1960) is very much in this mould.
In Under the Volcano, a play based on Malcolm Lowry’s novel of the same title and staged at the Toneelhuis (2009), the filtering and reconstruction of reality is based on a melding of graphics and an authentically theatrical aesthetic. For the work, which relates the fall of an alcoholic consul on the Day of the Dead in Mexico on the eve of World War II , Cassiers and Josse De Pauw, who wrote the adaptation and plays the lead role, travelled to Mexico to film the environment in which the actual events took place. The result: a stage flooded with images of the exotic landscape processed to reproduce the consul’s illusory mental world. As the novel’s plot recedes, it makes way for a fragmentary sequence of images; while the actors sometimes disappear into the imagery and sometimes stand out from it, they are shrouded in a veil of loneliness throughout which accentuates the imaginary nature of the characters they play, all of whom have emerged from the memory of the narrator, Monsieur Laruelle.
The set recreates the desperate, intoxicated inner journey of the British consul, Geoffrey Firmin—played superlatively by Albert Finney in John Huston’s film—as he teeters for the last time between the “shakes of too little and the abyss of too much”, between heaven and hell, between his vital need for love and his rapid decline into loneliness and death.


Direction: Guy Cassiers
Text: Josse De Pauw, based on the novel by Malcolm Lowry
Dramaturgy: Erwin Jans
Styling and set design: Enrico Bagnoli, Diederik De Cock, Arjen Klerkx
Costumes: Katelijne Damen
Cast: Katelijne Damen, Josse De Pauw, Bert Luppes, Kevin Janssens
Production: Toneelhuis (Antwerp)
Co-production: Théâtre de la Ville ParisFestival d’Automne à Paris (FR), MC2 Grenoble (FR), Théâtre du Nord, Lille (FR), Maison de la Culture d’Amiens (FR), Le Volcan, Le Havre (FR), La Comédie de Reims (FR)
Special thanks to: Universitaire Associatie Brussel / Het Platform / Doctoraat in de Kunsten / Het Brussels Model and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México / Centro Cultural Universitario Tlatelolco
World premiere: 2009, Toneelhuis, Antwerp
Translation into greek: Vassilis Douvitsas

25 Feb 2011

23:00 Main Stage


After-performance talk with Guy Cassiers, Josse De Pauw and Erwin Jans


24 - 26 May 2011

20:30 Main Stage
15 - 25 - 35 € 
Concs 10 €


Denis Podalydès Le cas Jekyll