19-06-2020

PLEIN THEATER presents: Swart Gat / G̶o̶l̶d̶e̶n̶ ̶A̶g̶e̶ from 1 July until 31 July 2020

 

A theatrical installation about the Maroon / Surinamese culture and the Amsterdam slavery history, by Tolin Erwin Alexander and Berith Danse.

 

PLEIN THEATER is the stage of the world around us, a theater on the Sajetplein in Amsterdam East with a contemporary program and an international orientation. In the summer of 2020, we were going to perform a theater project at the Keti Koti Festival 2020 in the Oosterpark about the history of Amsterdam (East) and the Amsterdam slavery past, with the Surinamese theater- and filmmaker Tolin Erwin Alexander as Artist in Resident in the PLEIN THEATER.

However, the Corona measures caught up to our plans; Our Artist in Resident cannot travel to the Netherlands from Ecuador and the Keti Koti Festival, where the abolition of slavery is commemorated and celebrated annually with a large community, unfortunately cannot take place.

As a cultural theater in Amsterdam East, a district with a direct connection to the Surinamese Colonial past, we consider the commemoration and celebration of the Keti Koti in the district to be very important, also in times of Covid-19. That is why we have thought about an installation that can be realized and experienced within the measures: On Wednesday 1 July 2020 we will open Swart Gat / Golden Age!
 

Swart Gat/ G̶o̶l̶d̶e̶n̶ ̶A̶g̶e̶ (Dunguu olo - katibo-ten)


Swart Gat/ G̶o̶l̶d̶e̶n̶ ̶A̶g̶e̶ (Dunguu olo - katibo-ten) is a theatrical installation about an unknown part of Dutch culture and history, that of the Maroons, in the form of a 'corona-proof' labyrinth in the PLEIN THEATER.

Maroons are descendants of Africans who were forcibly brought to Suriname by slave traders, who liberated and settled in the Amazon. The theatrical installation shows wisdoms from the Maroon perspective and their vision of freedom, medicinal plants and dealing with death, in relation to the present-day.

The theatrical installation will be opened in the PLEIN THEATER on Wednesday, July 1, Keti Koti 2020, when the abolition of slavery is celebrated and the slavery past commemorated , and can be visited individually throughout the month of July at pre-booked time slots.
 

Surinamese theater and filmmaker Tolin Erwin Alexander was invited by PLEIN THEATER as Artist in Resident to work in Amsterdam on the installation in collaboration, but works due to the corona conditions as ‘Artist in Quarantaine’ from Ecuador on the content of the installation. The project is an initiative of theater maker, naturopath and director of PLEIN THEATER Berith Danse, who has already made several theater exhibitions based on research into Dutch Slavery history. Other collaborations include designer Bartel Meyburg and association Ons Suriname.

During the four weeks there will also be lectures and workshops on zoom with Tolin Erwin Alexander and workshops on the Sajetplein about botany and medicinal plants by Berith Danse.

 

With Swart Gat / G̶o̶l̶d̶e̶n̶ ̶A̶g̶e̶ we want to highlight an unknown part of Dutch culture, namely that of the Maroons. The unfair unfamiliarity and manner in which it is discussed suggests that their culture is not part of the collective cultural heritage of the Netherlands. The fact to the contrary is true. While other heroes in "national history" are embraced and nationalized, they remain in the shadow of the collective consciousness. Now, in 2020, the mechanism behind this still seems to have lost none of its urgency!

It is right now, as the subject racism is attracting worldwide attention, we want to expose insights into the subtle effect of racism, exclusion, mainstream thinking and the deep-seated apartheid actions that arise from it through the art of performance, theatre and imagination.” - Berith Danse

 

Who are the makers?

Tolin Erwin Alexander, originally Maroon from Suriname, is a theater and filmmaker (IDFA Documentary Stones Have Laws 2018 and Praise on Freedom 2018). His work is characterized by making the culture of the Maroons in Suriname and beyond visible through theatre and documentaries. As "Artist in Quarantine" Erwin Alexander is working on the project from Quito in Ecuador.

Besides director of PLEIN THEATER, Berith Danse is also a theater maker and naturopath. In 2001 Berith Danse already conducted an in-depth investigation into the Dutch Slavery past in Suriname, Ghana, Senegal, Amsterdam and Zeeland and the cultural sources that refer to the true story.

Previous theater exhibitions by Berith Danse: Slavery Moment Now in Amsterdam (2003), Zeeland Slavery Moment in Zeeland (2005), Slavery Labyrinth at the Keti Koti (2008), Amsterdam; De Swarte Bocht in Amsterdam (2013). The Voyage of the Hasten Slowly in Amsterdam (2016) and De Lofzang op de Vrijheid - in Suriname (2018).

To create the theatrical installation, the theater makers collaborate with design artists Bartel Meyburg and Paulina Matusiak, Lonnie van Brummelen and Siebren de Haan (film), Bert Barten (Talking Trees), Dwight Sergio Samson (editing) and those involved in association Ons Suriname in Amsterdam East.

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