International Theatre Amsterdam – Surtitled, it is

International Theatre Amsterdam – Surtitled, it is

Every time I write the word “surtitled” my auto correction magically switches the “r” in favour of a “b” because this must be a mistake. I rewrite it, but people have the same reaction. It must be a typo. You see, the English translation of ITA’s shows is located above the stage, not under, so there you have it, the “surtitle” at your service.

It’s not only the specific placement of the translation that surprises you at ITA shows. Toneelgroep Amsterdam is the resident ensemble at the Schouwburg Amsterdam, the municipal theatre, located at Leidseplein. The Schouwburg is an institution. When you walk in a national theatre institution like that you don’t expect to see an artistically risky show. Not where I come from anyway. You usually just hope for the best. But then there’s Dutch theatre.

If I think of “Medea”, an ITA creation after Euripides, nothing there stuck to the traditional way of approaching a classic. On the contrary, everything spoke to the contemporary audience, while keeping the density of the plot, the passion and the psychological struggle of a Greek tragedy. The quality of the acting, the minimalist scenic solutions, the use of technology, everything connected a text that is more than 2000 years old to our days. That is what good theatre can do.

Back to the surtitles. Every Thursday, ITA’s creations are surtitled in English. And Medea is going to the back at the Schouwburg stage in March. All I can say is GO.

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