Restoring the earth

November 2012. I’m in an apartment on the 27th floor in Changhzou, China. Facing me is a 72-year-old man. What are the most memorable moments from his life, I want to know. He touches only hesitantly on the Cultural Revolution and what it meant for his family. He hints at the fact that the impact was enormous, but doesn’t go into details.


There’s a Chinese saying that says that if you read too much, you turn as black as the ink. Maybe if you know too much about the Cultural Revolution, you turn red.

The Dutch town of Tilburg is twinned with Changzhou. When working for Zuidelijk Toneel in Tilburg, I made this theater show that examined history and memory. But when interviewing the Chinese, I started wondering whether our western concepts of gaining insight and processing experience by taking a historical perspective is even viable in China.


Restoring the Earth (Het herstellen van de aarde) was the theatrical result of that research.

directed and written by Leen Braspenning
cast Sanne Berger / Leen Braspenning, Marcel Faber
dramaturgy Jannet van Lange
sound and image Johann van Gerwen
Tan Dun – Ghost Opera
video technology Casper Vriens
produced by De NWE Vorst


Read the flyer here