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, La Isla Bonita worked with Paul van der Laan as director and with Simon/e van Saarloos providing greater depth to the contextual programming. In 2019, La Isla Bonita (Frascati Producties in co-production with Over het IJ Festival) present De Managers, directed by Suze Milius. This production will have its première at Over Het IJ Festival 2019 and can be seen in theatres in the Netherlands in April, May and June 2020.
'Atlantis is an imaginative invitation to think in a watery way, and to realise that everything is linked to everything else. [...] With five mermaids in all their finery, Atlantis offers plenty of laughs, and the performers from La Isla Bonita make extensive use of this. [...] Watery thinking might sound a bit vague, but La Isla Bonita show that it’s not such a crazy idea after all.' De Theaterkrant
'Five-strong female performance collective La Isla Bonita is one of the most interesting young theatre companies around at present. The attractive, expressive performers are able to creatively blend physicality and presence with social relevance.' de Volkskrant
'The five performers from La Isla Bonita have steadily been working since their graduation production of the same title (2015) on building a strong oeuvre in physical, socially relevant theatre.’ Het Parool
‘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 Theatrical Performance from Toneelacademie Maastricht (institute of performative arts) in 2015. During their studies, they developed – both individually and above all together as a performance collective – a strong signature of their own, closely related to mime. The members create and perform their material themselves, choosing a director for each project. To date they have worked with Jeroen De Man and Davy Pieters. For the Frascati Productie Atlantis, they are working with Paul van der Laan as director and Simon/e van Saarloos to provide greater depth to the contextual programming. With Frascati Producties, they previously made La Luche Libre (2017).