Zwarte vogels in de bomen

After Diep in het bos (Deep into the forest) (1999) and Vadria (2000), Dick van der Harst and Eric De Volder join forces again for a theme that gradually is coming apart at the seams.

Zwarte vogels in de bomen (Black birds in the trees) is about angry farmers, sick animals, poisoned lives and all the other cadavers left behind on the battlefield of fifty years of agrarian policy and modernisation. It’s about how cesspools are allowed to overflow and how as a result, thousands of families drown.

Zwarte vogels in de bomen delves into the history of a farmer’s family; the music from Dick van der Harst, therefore, journeys as far back as the late Middle Ages.

With Zwarte vogels in de bomen, we take a look at the living environment of a small, impoverished family of farmers who are up to their necks in difficulties. It is a topical matter with roots in the past. What are the results of the agricultural policy of the past fifty years? What is left of the country scenes and the landscapes that were pictured by Brueghel? De Volder and Van der Harst start from a broad theme, and get inspired by everything they find, hear, see and remember.

In Zwarte vogels in de bomen, we pull open the backdoor of the kitchen of the Spiesschaerts family, who are just about to contract another loan. They are hardly able to make both ends meet, and the problems in the pigsty seem to be about to finish them. They hope that the marriage of the eldest daughter with a farmer from the village will guarantee the survival of their farm. But when you think you’ve seen everything, and suddenly there is a rope… They are lying with “their faces in the shit”, but every performance, they enter again upon the struggle against the downfall of their family and their farm.

As to say: deepening is far more easy than raising, and the farmer went on ploughing…


Premiere 18 May 2002 de Bottelarij Brussels

Zwarte vogels in de bomen
Zwarte vogels in de bomen
Zwarte vogels in de bomen


  • MUSIC Dick van der Harst
  • WITH Paola Bartoletti, Elise Caluwaerts, Kim Delcour, Ann De Prest, Leen De Veirman, Liam Fennelly, Johan Knuts, Jowan Merckx, Ineke Nijssen, Noémi Schellens, Hendrik-Hein Van Doorn, Katelijne Van Laethem, Jan Van Outryve
  • DRAMATURGY Ellen Stynen
  • CONSTRUCTION OF INSTRUMENTS Herman De Roover & Thijs Van der Harst
  • COSTUMES Claudine Grinwis
  • PRODUCTION Toneelgroep Ceremonia & LOD muziektheater
  • COPRODUCTION Zeeland Nazomer Festival, Kunstenfestivaldesarts
  • SUPPORT Koning Boudewijnstichting

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