La Isla Bonita consists of the performers Luit Bakker, Milou van Duijnhoven, Mirthe Labree, Aukje Schaafsma and Lisa Schamlé. The collective make physical theatre full of imagery, with a focus on social criticism. Their work is energetic and associative, rhythmic, disruptive and witty. Clichés are shamelessly exaggerated to absurd dimensions: as a viewer, you will recognise the news, Facebook, the woman next door and yourself. For each performance, the performers link a concrete theme to a physical acting style. In this way, a combination of text and mime emerges that creates space for a fresh view of themes that concern us all.
The members of La Isla Bonita graduated together in Theatrical Performance at Toneelacademie Maastricht in 2015 with La Isla Bonita, in which five women focus attention on the problems of refugees fleeing in boats by means of a rhythmic gymnastics show. The production was an instant hit and was followed by an extensive tour. They then created Dogs of War (Parade, 2016); a performance inspired by the SM sub-genre Puppy Play, for which they delved into the fact that the Netherlands is the biggest supplier of trained fighting dogs to the occupied Palestinian territories.
In 2017, as part of Frascati’s test stage Fraslab La Isla Bonita created La Lucha Libre. In cooperation with Over het IJ Festival, then went on to elaborate this test into a complete location-specific production (2017), scoring an instant festival hit. This time, the company was inspired by the glamourous world of Mexican and American wrestling shows. They grappled with one another, physically and verbally, mercilessly, inescapably and at times hilariously and right in the audience’s faces. With complete commitment, they carried on a personal, psychological struggle against one another and against all the clichés about men, women and sex.
In 2018, the performance collective plunged into the depths with the Frascati Productie Atlantis, a production all about the shelf life of fish, women and the world in general. Five hydro-feminist mermaids with big fins expose their underwater world; a world in which everything flows and is linked together. Through their ‘watery thinking’ they challenge the audience to look again closely at their own way of thinking. An invitation to let go of doom scenarios, judgements, principles and recriminations and swim together; to look more closely and re-remember. An invitation to curiosity. As their scales slowly dry out under the stage lights, they long for open nature, pure beauty and the eternal harmony of the elements, man and the world. How long before they start to stink? For Atlantis, they worked with Paul van der Laan as director and Simon/e van Saarloos on creating greater depth in the provision of context.
‘They are strong, tough and shameless – and plain hilarious' (****) – De Volkskrant on La Lucha Libre
‘Tireless, they bash away in a bizarre display of combat. Wrestling routines succeed one another at lightning pace, interspersed with colourful sketches. Without piñata, but with Madonna. Viva, La Isla Bonita!’ (****) – NRC on La Lucha Libre
'The contrast between the Barbie-esque females and the terrifying fighting women is horrifyingly fascinating and the scene in which the champion is intensely humiliated in front of a full arena almost turns the stomach. (...) These beautiful young actresses are refreshingly ugly, hard and brutal.' – Trouw on La Lucha Libre
‘Current, capricious and irresistible’ (****) – Theaterkrant on La Isla Bonita
‘confusing, versatile, disconcerting and witty’ – NRC on La Isla Bonita
La Isla Bonita is performers Luit Bakker, Milou van Duijnhoven, Mirthe Labree, Aukje Schaafsma and Lisa Schamlé, all of whom graduated in 2015 from the Theatrical Performance course at Toneelacademie Maastricht. During this course, they developed – individually, but also together as a performance collective – a strong signature all of their own, with considerable affinity to mime. The members of the collective create and perform their own material, choosing a director for each new project. To date, they have worked with Jeroen De Man and Davy Pieters. For the Frascati Productie Atlantis, they worked with Paul van der Laan as director and Simon/e van Saarloos on creating greater depth in the provision of context. For Frascati Producties, they have previously created La Luche Libre (2017).
- Atlantis (Frascati Producties, December 2018)
- La Lucha Libre (Frascati Producties & Over het IJ Festival, 2017)
- La Lucha Libre – preliminary trials (Fraslab 2016)
- Dogs of War (De Parade, 2016)
- La Isla Bonita (Graduation production Theatrical Performance course, Toneelacademie Maastricht, 2015)