Following his arrival in the Netherlands in 2002, director Joachim Robbrecht (Ghent, 1979) became fascinated by the search for the Dutch identity. Having graduated in directing in Amsterdam, he began work with Gasthuis / Frascati Producties on a series of productions dealing with this ‘idiotic digging for roots’. He translated the complex interaction between fact and fiction that characterises this search into a range of experiments with the theatrical form. His script for IJs (Ice, Gasthuis, 2007), for example, was based on documentary material on how the Dutch deal with nature. In Anne Frank: leeft en werkt (Anne Frank: Lives and Works, Gasthuis, 2008), he gave a platform to three generations of Jewish Dutch. And in !V.O.C.! (Gasthuis, De Warme Winkel, Oerol festival and Over het IJ festival, 2008) he parodied the selective nature of the discourse on the Dutch past in public debate.
‘Identity’ and ‘fact and fiction’ also play a key role in Robbrecht’s more recent productions. Rashomon-effect (Frascati Producties and Toneelgroep Amsterdam, 2010) recreates a television broadcast of the reconstruction of a murder case. However, as the statements and hypotheses start to pile up, the ‘Rashomon effect’ occurs: the ‘truth’ seems to become ever more elusive, much to the frustration of the characters – and the audience.