“If there is such a thing as magic, then it has to be in this amazing show. Batelaan stages intangible, anarchistic theatre for infants that is brimming over with uncomplicated fun and with meaningful use of contemporary (television) technology.”
“This requires imagination, and that’s something that children have in abundance (…) A bold children’s performance with a philosophical edge, brightened up with clever visual inventions. Artemis once again sticks its neck out in an unprecedented way.”
Two artists, a theatre technician and a musician are waiting for their performance to begin. Everything is in place, but where is the audience? It quickly becomes apparent that there are further uncertainties. Who is playing the piano? Whose coffee cup is that flying through the air? And what’s that ghost running off with the extension lead? Are they actually there themselves? And can you really see that, or do you simply have to believe it?
The invisible man is about everything that you don’t see. And secretly also about how wonderful it is not to be seen. Theater Artemis makes theatre that does not stick to its own rules and takes great pleasure in turning the world of the audience – both young and old(er) – on its head.
From the jury report:
De onzichtbare man (The Invisible Man) by Theater Artemis’ artistic director Jetse Batelaan, is two shows for the price of one – one for children and one for adults. And they complement each other perfectly. The show’s starting point is actually dead simple, which is why it is so effective: we see actors pretending that the audience is invisible, literally! For example, the theatre technician makes his way to the tiered seating banks and sits on people’s laps, and the clowns wonder where the audience has got to. The children would be taken in, too, because they can’t see the piano player…. But they do hear him walk across the stage and see the keys being struck. And who is eating those crisps and drinking the coffee? Between whiles, the stage technician and the clowns also disappear, and only a pair of shoes with socks crosses the performance space. Sometimes even the coffee cup disappears, but not the coffee…
So De onzichtbare man turns out to be ‘a study of the border between fiction and non-fiction for dummies’: And you can’t get a more contemporary theme than that!
If there is such a thing as magic, then it has to be in this amazing show. Batelaan stages intangible, anarchistic theatre for infants that is brimming over with uncomplicated fun and with meaningful use of contemporary (television) technology. Even adults are reduced to silence by the ingenuity behind the various tricks. It should be allowed to go on and on. Making theatre that is both exciting and intelligent for very young children (De onzichtbare man is recommended for over 4’s) is no mean feat. But with this uncompromising and unruly but also very funny show, Batelaan succeeds in his mission with verve. The fact that he also manages to make it rich and exciting for critical adults is nothing short of extraordinary.