Marijn Graven (1984) makes intimate, attractive productions full of stories that are at once personal and universal. Together with her actors and the audience, she goes in search of answers to the questions of life, big and small, with an extremely varied supporting cast of historical figures and fictional characters. In the theatre, where imagination and reality come together, she recreates the big stories from the global repertoire as a mirror for recognisable, everyday cares and desires.
For De Elyzeesche velden, een gelukzalig oord, for example, she got actresses (sisters and famous Flemings) Evelien and Marlies Bosmans to get under the skins of famous sisters Blanche and Stella from A Streetcar Named Desire, in an adaptation based on conversations about their relationship to one another. In De Louteringsberg, Graven invited the audience to take a leap into the unknown. In this ritual production, makers and audience members together explored the process of dying and saying goodbye, supported by illustrious guides such as Dante and Virgil. And in the Frascati Productie Nachtwerk, the makers entered into conversations with diverse characters such as the Markies de Sade, Frank Wedekind and Iggy Pop about the desire to actually take control of your own life as a human being, also – precisely – if this control leads towards self-destruction. A dark, explicitly sexual piece about boundaries, freedom and the foundations of life.
For Prospero e Mirande (Frascati Producties, autumn 2018), Marijn asked Italian writer and actor Nunzio Caponio to write a personal adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Caponio himself until recently lived on Sardinia, a magical island in the Mediterranean. Prospero e Mirande is an intimate story based on the writer’s stormy relationship with his own daughter. A circus-like comedy full of linguistic confusion, transformations and unexpected twists, driven by the eternal longing for intimacy, understanding and love.
Early in 2019, with Het Zuidelijk Toneel Marijn Graven created LO LIE TAA (Het Zuidelijk Toneel / Festival Cement), an adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov’s classic novel Lolita (1955). The book, which describes a man’s obsession with a twelve-year-old girl, unleashed great controversy at the time. The novel is written entirely from the perspective of the adult. What happens if we switch this perspective around? And look from the point of view of the child, endlessly fascinated by the forbidden world of adults?
The makers of LO LIE TAA were inspired by their own childhoods. Memories of love as a swarm of butterflies, of a desire free as the wind, of the desperation of keyhole affairs and being trapped in a childlike appearance. Can adults look uninhibitedly at the desire of a child?
In May 2019, Marijn created a taster for Frascati Issues #To Heal. In October 2019, she will direct Sytske van Koeveringe’s adaptation of August Strindberg’s To Damascus, with Martijn Nieuwerf playing the lead role.
'LO LIE TAA is a production that strikes a good balance, taking the sexual awareness of child seriously, without in any way glamourizing abuse.' Theaterkrant
‘Above all, it is admirable that the actors perform seated for virtually the entire time among the audience, in combination with marvellous directorial inventions.’ – Scènes on Nachtwerk.
Marijn Graven (1984) graduated in Directing from the Academy of Theatre and Dance in 2017. Prior to this, she had studied Theatre Studies, held several jobs in marketing in the theatre world and participated in two years of part-time acting training, before realising that her true passion was directing. With writer and actor Jordy Vogelzang, designer Maartje Prins and sound designer George Dhauw, in October 2017 Marijn created her first Frascati production, Nachtwerk. They met during their studies, during which period and in different groups they made (among others) De Elyzeesche velden and Louteringsberg, which have previously been performed in Frascati. De Louteringsberg won the André Veltkamp Beurs grant and the AHK Eindwerkprijs award 2017. Marijn Graven will further develop her work with Plan Brabant and Frascati Producties over the next few years.