Both De Sutter and Van der Harst are fascinated by history in general, and specifically its little, hidden aspects. For The Attendants' Gallery – Stories of Europe their aim is to shed new light on Europe's 20th century. Quite a young subject, and part of our living memory, it is also a treasure of memories of three generations of people.
And how can we better unveil this history than through stories? Five people from Europe's outskirts, who have lived its 20th century, tell us their stories. Actors from Slovenia, Lapland, Portugal, Romania, and Ireland, take a trip down memory lane and share with us their family sagas, their peoples' and countries' stories, their ‘gallery' of souvenirs: objects and images. They remember facts, personal connections they have with Europe's history. What they have in common is not language, but rather the authenticity of their history, in which discrimination, suppression and life outside their native land make an appearance. Dictatorships and terror play their part in the background to their amazing journey, but there are always the people, carrying on, falling down and getting up again.
What do they want with Europe, today, tomorrow?
No political statements are made. Rather mixed feelings, different opinions, influenced by different backgrounds.
As a red thread running through the piece is a symbolic-mythical story, written by Pieter De Buysser. It represents Europe as a body. Each limb, each organ has its own features and functions, things also typical of Europe.
The gallery attendants are assisted by musicians led by Dick van der Harst, and artists from the graphic literature collective Frémok. They provide a ‘visual' translation of the stories told, using drawings, paintings, video, and other types of visual art. The music, written by Van der Harst, is original work, inspired by traditional music of the participating countries.
Premiere 1 September 2006 Zürcher Theater Spektakel