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What would the end of the world look like from a paradise island? And what happens after?
Hidden in the Pacific Ocean lies the small island of Nauru, once called Pleasant Island by European explorers. Its history appears to be a metaphor of our current day and age, in which colonization, capitalism, migration and ecology are on a collision course. After the exhaustive exploitation of the island’s vast underground phosphate deposits, both under British-Australian rule and afther its independence in 1968, the island was left in economic and ecologic ruins. Today Nauru is hosting dead-end refugee camps in return for a large amount of Australian money. Meanwhile, the island risks to be swallowed by the ocean as a result of the rising sea level.
It is in this post-apocalyptic setting that documentary theatremakers Silke Huysmans and Hannes Dereere encounter the limitations of a world that is intent on endless growth. Drawing on interviews and conversations with residents and refugees on the island, they search for new perspectives. What future is there in a place that has been exhausted in ecological, economic and humanitarian terms? And how do we deal with the gloomy predictions that appear to await all of us?
Based in Brussels, Silke Huysmans and Hannes Dereere took their first steps at Kunstenwerkplaats Pianofabriek and Bâtard Festival in Brussels. Together they create documentary theatre performances. In their acclaimed first work “Mining Stories”, which was also presented at Beursschouwburg, they explored the impact of a mining disaster in 2015 in the south of Brazil. After its premiere at last year’s edition of Kunstenfestivaldesarts, we are happy to present Pleasant Island again in times when voices on the entanglements around the current border regime, extractivism and anxiety are strategically being ignored.
In English, French & Dutch subtitles
by: Silke Huysmans and Hannes Dereere, sound mixing: Lieven Dousselaere, thanks to: all conversation partners in Nauru, presentation: Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Beursschouwburg, production: kunstencentrum CAMPO, coproduction: Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Spring Festival Utrecht, Beursschouwburg,
Kunstenwerkplaats Pianofabriek, Veem House For Performance, Theaterfestival SPIELART München, De Brakke Grond, residencies: Beursschouwburg, De Grote Post, KAAP, Kunstencentrum Buda, kunstenwerkplaats Pianofabriek, STUK, De Brakke Grond, LOD, Veem House for Performance
Photo © Vlad Sokhin