Thomas Verstraeten

Familiestraat

In September 2021 I'll create Familiestraat. Familiestraat is about the truly extraordinary, but also perfectly normal street where I live and work in Antwerp in Belgium. This unremarkable street is located right in the heart of the Seefhoek, one of the most vibrant and diverse parts of the city. I am longing to plumb the depths of life in my street by making theatre about the daily goings-on here. I will do this by spending a year, starting in 2020, inventorizing and describing day-to-day life in the street. I will then go on to establish links between what is happening in my street and what is happening in the world at the same moment, thereby juxtaposing world history with the history of my street, and vice versa. In Familiestraat, my family and I and some 200 locals will re-enact slices of life from the last year as faithfully as possible.

The performance takes place in a large factory hall. Standing in the middle is a life-size, cardboard replica of my street. Well, actually only the façades and concealed behind them just emptiness. Wooden scaffolding supports the cardboard façades. At the top of the street is a tiered seating bank. Spectacular theatrical resources - lighting, sound, music, scenery, special effects, rain, snow - are deployed to turn humdrum occurrences into drama, thereby juxtaposing the little human being with a big, majestic, uncontrollable environment. “Isn’t man too small and life too big?” a character asks himself in Louis Paul Boon’s Forgotten Street.

Credits

With: 200 participants from The Seefhoek
Production management: Freija Bosmans, Joris Goorden
Dramaturgy
: Leen Hammenecker, Mark Luyten
Scale model:
Winnie Claessens
Production
: d e t h e a t e r m a k e r
Coproduction
: deSingel, Campo, Het Oude Badhuis