Over a century ago, the Netherlands were flooded by refugees. Belgian refugees, driven from their homes by the Great War. The Dutch women competed amongst each other to provide them with the best possible care.
But soon, amicability turned into annoyance. The Belgians were deemed lazy and noisy. There were too many of them and they stole the jobs of the young Dutch men that were drafted.
A century later, in 2015, I was volunteering in an asylum seekers’ center. In the facility reserved for vulnerable women – the only part of the center that had a lock. I didn’t speak the language of those women. But nevertheless I was keenly aware of the competition between the women, when they spent time in the recreation room.
The women used their beauty as an asset, but at this same time this kind of behaviour was frowned upon. Jealousy and recognition alternatingly took the front row. My observations in that asylum center were what led me to make the play Marieke, Marieke. Because not a lot has changed in a hundred years.
directed and adaptated by Leen Braspenning
based on the book De Vlucht by Johanna Spaey
cast Kaltoum Boufangacha, Aminata Demba
dramaturgy Cecile Brommer
research Merel van Lieshout
production André Lasance
techniek Stan Bannier
produced by Het Zuidelijk Toneel and ‘t Arsenaal Mechelen/GEN2020
with help from Het Gevolg, het Ronde Tafelhuis